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A French-Inspired Garden and Home by Judith Stringham

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

A Dragonfly Magical Moment

Magical moments happen at every age. 
One is never too young, nor too old for special 
once-in-a-lifetime events to occur. 
Events that stir excitement in a flash. 
Ones recognized as something special is happening, 
stirring a lightness in one's heart and actions. 
An event that for a few moments 
suspends daily routines and 
causes unbridled joy. 

I am not young anymore. 
Just today I remarked that I am considered 
a senior citizen by all groups that offer discounts... 
Restaurants, movie theaters, museums, 
the U.S. government, etc... 
I wasn't really lamenting the fact, 
just stating an observation 
and wondering how did that happen? 
When did I blink and become a senior citizen? 
Regardless of age, 
magical moments still happen. 




While watering the yard a couple of nights ago, 
unbeknownst to me, 
dragonfly 
hitched a ride into the house 
on the sleeve of my t-shirt. 



Here it is, holding on underneath my sleeve. 
I didn't realize it was there until I sat down on the bed 
and caught a glimpse from the corner of my eye. 
At first, I thought it was a dead leaf, 
then felt it flutter and realized it was a 
dragonfly. 

I immediately hopped up, looking around for a camera. 
(Blogging has changed my reactions.)
Into the bathroom I raced to get my iPhone, 
racing against time, hoping the dragonfly did not zoom off. 
This was a special event that had never occurred before, 
during all my years becoming a senior citizen, and  
required a pictorial record. 



After struggling to get a photo shot of it on my sleeve and 
only managing to get a blurry photo of the dragonfly and 
a sharp image of the bathtub, 
the dragonfly buzzed to the wall, 
fluttering and flapping its wings to find a hiding spot
behind the framed bouquet of lavender. 
A couple of times it landed totally hidden 
behind the framed lavender, 
but emerged again. 



Several images later, 
the dragonfly rested on the edge of the bathtub. 




Then the dragonfly flew to my hand and landed. 
GASP! 
No fear, just marvel, at my good fortune 
to have a dragonfly land on me twice. 



The wings were so translucent and shimmery.

For a few moments,
daily routines were suspended as I
studied the beauty of the dragonfly and
felt lighthearted with joy. 

After a short rest, the dragonfly flew to the wall again 
where I was able to capture the living dragonfly inside a clear jar 
allowing me to release it out the back door. 
Without hesitation  
the dragonfly buzzed out of sight and sound, 
free of captivity. 

I think the little dragonfly probably became 
a senior citizen dragonfly in those few minutes, 
aging dragonfly years brought on by fright.  
Then again, it rested on my hand without apparent fear. 



Folklore legends say that 
if a dragonfly lands on you, you are going to hear good news 
from someone dear to you. 

Do you think I will hear multiple good news 
from someone dear to me 
since the dragonfly landed on me more than once? 
~~~~~~~~~~
While researching dragonflies, I found 
a delightful and informative blog post. 

~~~~~~~~~~
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Monday, July 28, 2014

I'd Rather Be in the Garden...But Not in 104°

Yes, 
I'd rather be in the garden, 
but not in 104° 

Fabled Texas summer heat has arrived, 
in all its blistering, sweltering, suffocating, 
100+ degrees. 



A couple of weeks ago we were lulled into thinking 
summer would be mild mannered this year. 
Why, we had one day with 69° as the high. 
Rain came, torrential rain came. 
A city nearby had 14" in one 24-hour period. 
Could this be north Texas?! 
Cool temperatures AND rain? 
Two more days followed with highs in the 70s. 
I was giddy, laughing out loud, smiling for no apparent reason, 
but the reason was the delightful temperatures. 



That's when I decided to make some garden signs 
that celebrated how I was feeling about the weather. 



The larger sign was inspired by Pinterest. 
Between Pinterest and Blogs, I find all kinds of inspiration. 
Enough for a hundred years of projects. 
I'm kind of slow. 



 To speed up the lettering process on the big sign, 
I used photo canvas cloth and printed out the phrase 
instead of painting the phrase.  



Directions for creating the "I'd rather be in the garden" sign. 
  1. Microsoft Word Document - Page Set Up 'landscape', letter
  2. Insert Text Box so different fonts can be layered. That's how the plant sprigs were added to the letters in the word "GARDEN".
  3. Fonts used - Jacques and Gilles for the words and Bodoni Ornaments for the sprigs.
  4. "Fill" the text box with background color of choice.
  5. Use a very pale color for the text color. This is how to get the text color to look almost white. Let the printed sign dry.
  6. Spray the canvas sign with Rust-Oleum Matte Finish - Clear Protective Finish for Crafts, Arts, and Decorative Projects.  Find at Home Depot.
  7. Glue canvas to weathered reclaimed scrap wood found underneath your deck (that's where mine was.) Use Elmer's Carpenter's WoodGlue Max, waterproof and stainable, interior/exterior.
  8. Nail the sign to a stake - Grade Leveling Stakes found at Home Depot come in several lengths.  I used an 18" stake for this sign.
  9. The sign is water resistant, not water proof, and should be used in sheltered areas. Mine did get sprinkled on during one of our most-welcome rainy days before I got it inside. The water beaded up, and the ink did not run. Whew! 


I hand painted the "herbs" sign by 
printing the word "herbs" on paper,
cutting out the word, taping it down to the wood, 
and spray painting it. 
The Grade Leveling Stake is 12" long and cost 25¢. 
Spray the sign with Rust-Oleum Matt Finish to protect it. 
The herbs sign is water proof and can be used outside. 



Yes, I'd rather be in the garden, but not in 104°, 
the temperature on my car's dashboard at 7:00 p.m. tonight. 
❦ 
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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Summer Blues and Whites

Languid hot summer days 
require cooling blues and whites. 


Fresh white mums, 
blue and white stoneware, 
botanical blue printed jug, 
white ruffle-edged footed cake plate, 
and 
blue etched stemmed glasses 
cool down the kitchen 
in the midst of July heat. 



My kitchen has blue as one of its basic colors, 
but the new botanical jug and etched glasses 
bring new summer blues. 



As much as I like white and 
have added more white all around the house, 
I keep being drawn back to blue, 
my first love. 



These new blue etched stemmed glasses 
will be perfect for summer entertaining 
and for holiday seasons to come. 



Lightweight with graceful curved lines, 
they are easy to hold and 
are large enough for generous servings. 



Summer blues and whites 
fit in all around the kitchen from every angle. 



There are only four sitting out 
to cool down the July heat, 
but I have twelve, 
plenty for company.  



Come on over. 
A nice big glass of iced tea will help us 
beat the summer blues. 

~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stemware ~ Sheila pattern, Joss and Main 
Botanical jug ~ eBay

No compensation from anyone, 
just want to share the sources for those 
readers who like to know.

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