Thursday, September 22, 2022

Heceta Headland Day Trip

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Heceta Headland Day Trip

So believe it or not, this was our family's first excursion out into the world since before Covid. James and I, together with our son Tayo and his girlfriend Ellie, took a whirlwind day trip to the Oregon Coast and it definitely revived our spirits and gave us hope for future travels.

The lighthouse at Heceta Headland is a well known sight to most Oregonians. It's a large part of the history of the area, having been built in 1894. It is situated 205 feet above the Pacific Ocean on a bluff carved out of the west side of the 1,000-foot-high headland.

Although we have visited the coast many times over the years, we have never taken the self guided tour of the lighthouse - until now. It's an easy half-mile hike on an uphill dirt trail and it was a perfectly beautiful and warm day. 'The kids' headed up on their own right away, while James and I took our time.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Heceta Headland Day Trip

The 54-foot lighthouse tower contains a Fresnel lens that was built by the Chance Brothers of Birmingham, England and originally contained kerosene oil lamps which were maintained by a lightkeeper crew. These days the lamps are electric and automated. To this day it is still a working navigational light that is visible for 21 nautical miles.

After learning about and admiring the lighthouse, James and I then turned our attention to the stunning views. To the south is the sandbar at Cape Cove:

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Heceta Headland Day Trip

To the east you can see the sheltered Cape Cove Beach and the Cape Creek Bridge in the background:

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Heceta Headland Day Trip

As we descended back down the trail we stopped to view the Assistant Keeper's Duplex, one of the last remaining on the Pacific Coast. Originally there was also a Head Keeper's House, however it was demolished many years ago.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Heceta Headland Day Trip

It was an enjoyable day of hiking, picnicking and sightseeing. At some point during the course of this day, however, it struck me how much we've missed over the last two and a half years. I've realized that I've allowed myself to get caught in the trap of thinking there's no use going anywhere anymore because everything has changed because of Covid.

And while certainly there have been changes in our perceptions and in how we navigate our day to day lives, it's also important to get out of our tightly held, cautious routines and enjoy nature and to see other families out there doing the same. And it also dawned on me how important it is to recommit to spending time with family seeing new things, exploring, and having that feeling of being free to wander and take things as they come, even if only for a day. It rejuvenates the spirit and helps us connect with each other in a wholly different way from our daily lives of work and worry.

For us, family trips have always been an important part of life and this day was an important reminder to continue that tradition, for ourselves and for the younger generation.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Heceta Headland Day Trip

Have you taken any trips lately?

 

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Thursday, September 8, 2022

Her Majesty the Queen

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Her Majesty the Queen features works by Canadian collage artist Danielle Krysa honoring Queen Elizabeth of England who passed away on September 8, 2022

Friends, I don't know anyone that can love Queen Elizabeth more uniquely than Canadian collage artist Danielle Krysa.

Of course by now everyone the world over has learned that the beloved Queen of England passed away today. As I was reading the news and thinking about it this evening I thought I would revisit Danielle's Instagram page and then realized it would be fun to share some of her works to honor the Queen's passing.

The piece above, titled “yes, liz had a little nibble because 1, any good baker would do the same, and 2, ‘shut up, i’m the f’n queen’.” is just one example of Danielle's ability to bring a humorous and joyful approach to an otherwise very serious subject.

In “‘use the pom poms sparingly’ they said - unfortunately liz and her creative muse were already knee deep” (below) we see the queen getting carried away with pom poms and like in the first piece it's fun to imagine the queen in this kind of situation.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Her Majesty the Queen features works by Canadian collage artist Danielle Krysa honoring Queen Elizabeth of England who passed away on September 8, 2022
I have enjoyed Danielle's use of round canvases. This one called “in her daydreams, liz was an avon lady” I love all the various pink paint colors and how she used just a few images to get her point across:

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Her Majesty the Queen features works by Canadian collage artist Danielle Krysa honoring Queen Elizabeth of England who passed away on September 8, 2022
Then there's this gem, entitled “arm’s length away” where Danielle informs us that "yes, that’s liz’s arm waving complete with swarovski crystal bracelet".

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Her Majesty the Queen features works by Canadian collage artist Danielle Krysa honoring Queen Elizabeth of England who passed away on September 8, 2022
Danielle has also had fun utilizing vintage costume jewelry on some of her canvases. In “queens carry the weight of the world - and we make it look f’n easy” we see more of her humor shining a unique light on Her Majesty's complex role in society.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Her Majesty the Queen features works by Canadian collage artist Danielle Krysa honoring Queen Elizabeth of England who passed away on September 8, 2022
I hope you'll agree that Danielle's visual approach to celebrating the life of Queen Elizabeth has been a powerful way to honor the queen and so much of what she has represented in the world.

May Queen Elizabeth rest in peace.

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Tuesday, August 30, 2022

Plum Blossom Decor: An Instagram Flash Sale

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor: An Instagram Flash Sale

Friends, if you love decorating your space in the chinoiserie style I'd like to invite you to a Plum Blossom Decor Instagram flash sale this Friday, September 2nd at 5:30pm Pacific Time.

In this 'Five on Friday' flash sale, I'll be offering a Nora Fenton Design display plate, an Oriental Cross Stitch book, a blue cabbage-ware child's tea set, a Japanese Imari teapot and a pair of Chinese shelf sitters.

So come join me on Friday! There will be detailed photos, full descriptions and prices. If you've never made a Paypal purchase this way before, these instructions will help facilitate a smooth shopping experience.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor: An Instagram Flash Sale

Thanks for looking and I hope you'll join me this Friday!

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Thursday, August 25, 2022

Blue & White Italian Staffordshire Style Dogs

Blue & White Italian Staffordshire Style Dogs

Hello friends! One of my favorite things to collect these days is ceramic mantle dogs. They are commonly referred to as Staffordshire dogs or Staffordshire style dogs because the original dogs were made in Staffordshire England by a variety of the English potters as early as the 17th century. Production of these quirky creatures continued into the 19th and mid-20th centuries.

The most common type of dog made was the Cavalier King Charles Spaniel. Greyhounds, poodles, dalmations and pugs were also produced. No matter the animal type, many mantles have been graced with pairs of these adorable animals.

According to Gloria from Willow Road Interiors, this pair of blue and white Staffordshire style dogs were made in Italy. I purchased them from her Instagram shop. They are not antiques but rather a later reproduction - hence Staffordshire 'style'. I love the hand painted blue floral design and who can resist those blue eyes?

Blue & White Italian Staffordshire Style Dogs
Blue & White Italian Staffordshire Style Dogs

Friends, meet Polly and Suki. Each is about 7" tall and 6" wide at the base. I had fun styling them in my bedroom on top of my antique chest of drawers, along with a blue 'hidden butterfly' patterned Chinese melon jar, some vintage books and a vintage bird trinket box made in Japan.

Blue & White Italian Staffordshire Style Dogs

The pair are unpainted on the back side and have a large 'casting hole' on the bottom. The casting hole comes from the slip mold process - clay and water are mixed to a creamy consistency, then poured into a two-part plaster mold. The slip water is absorbed by the plaster mold, leaving a clay shell next to the mold. The excess water is poured out, the mold is opened and the clay shell removed.

Blue & White Italian Staffordshire Style Dogs
Blue & White Italian Staffordshire Style Dogs

I can't say for sure what breed of dog this pair represents, but I think they are adorable and I hope you enjoyed seeing them. Now if I could just figure out which one is Polly and which one is Suki...

As always, thanks for looking and bye for now!



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Thursday, July 28, 2022

Summer Garden: Flowers, Fruit and a Flying Fish!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Summer Garden: Flowers, Fruit and a Flying Fish! Blog post about flowers and fruit grown in my garden and a new carp windsock.

Hello friends. It has been a very long time since I shared a peek into what's growing in my small backyard garden.

Have you ever tried to grow roses? They can be very challenging. I did not have very good luck with the bare root variety that I bought at a local discount box store so instead purchased two 'Easy Elegance' rose bushes from Grays Garden Centers. Neither have been a disappointment. Both are bushy, have lots of green leaves and an abundance of flowers. The 'Calypso', above, is one of them. It sprouts lovely dark pink buds that change to light pink blooms and as they age they turn a subtle blush pink.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Summer Garden: Flowers, Fruit and a Flying Fish! Blog post about flowers and fruit grown in my garden and a new carp windsock.

The dahlia above was a surprise this year. I picked up one of those six packs of annuals last summer at The Kiva Grocery store. And out of the six one decided to come back for another visit this year. How lovely!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Summer Garden: Flowers, Fruit and a Flying Fish! Blog post about flowers and fruit grown in my garden and a new carp windsock.

We have three mature blueberry bushes and a couple of younger ones also. They were just twigs when we first planted them so it feels very special to be able to gather up a good amount of berries for scones, pancakes and snacking.

Lilies are a must if you love having fragrant flowers in your garden. Their sweet smell is intoxicating and relaxing on a warm summer night.

The lilies shown here are the Van Zyverden brand which I have had a good amount of success with over the years.

This white lily is from a variety pack called 'Lily Oriental Mix'. Its yellow pollen has fallen from the stamens, creating stains on the petals. Watch out! If you dip your nose into the flower to smell it you might get pollen stains on your nose!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Summer Garden: Flowers, Fruit and a Flying Fish! Blog post about flowers and fruit grown in my garden and a new carp windsock.

And isn't this 'Triumphator' with its white and pink color scheme delightful?

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Summer Garden: Flowers, Fruit and a Flying Fish! Blog post about flowers and fruit grown in my garden and a new carp windsock.

The 'Oriental Summer Wine' lily is quite the bright pink don't you agree? I've seen an orange variety of lily with the same spot pattern and they are called tiger lily.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Summer Garden: Flowers, Fruit and a Flying Fish! Blog post about flowers and fruit grown in my garden and a new carp windsock.

So do you prefer pink or blue hydrangeas? I prefer blue however there is a bit of effort required to achieve this. Maybe you've heard of it already but the idea is to lower the soil pH by applying a blueing formula. I use the Growmore brand. The link provided is the best price I found at about $10.00 for a two pound container. Here's an example of my results.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Summer Garden: Flowers, Fruit and a Flying Fish! Blog post about flowers and fruit grown in my garden and a new carp windsock.

I started the blueing process late this season yet the results might be the best I've ever had.

If you have seen dried hydrangeas, either stems or wreaths, in the florist shop or at an upscale grocery store you know how expensive they can be. But did you know you can dry your garden hydrangeas yourself?

If you're interested in this, I wrote two blog posts. In DIY: Drying Garden Hydrangeas for Wreath Making I explain what to look for when preparing to cut your flowers and tips about the preservation process. And in DIY: Autumn Hydrangea Wreath I give step-by-step instructions on how to make a dried hydrangea wreath using a grapevine wreath purchased at the craft store.

And at last here is our new flying fish!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree Summer Garden: Flowers, Fruit and a Flying Fish! Blog post about flowers and fruit grown in my garden and a new carp windsock.

It's silly but everyone in our family loves having a carp windsock in the backyard. The first one we had was green and flew for many summer seasons until it got wind-ripped and could fly no longer. I found this new one at Eugene Toy & Hobby.

May our new blue flying carp merrily dip, spin and twirl for many summers to come!

That's all for now. Thanks for reading and see you again soon.
 

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Sunday, July 17, 2022

Plum Blossom Decor: An Etsy Shop Update

Under The Plum Blossom Tree: An Etsy Shop Update

Hello friends! A funny thing happened on the way to writing this blog post. Last weekend I pulled five of my Etsy shop listings from my inventory (shown above), styled them on our piano, and photographed them so I could write this blog post for you today.

Then on Wednesday a customer bought the Blue Willow canister set. I considered starting over again and replacing the canisters with something else, but since they are such a rare find I thought I would still share the set, as well as the other items shown.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree: An Etsy Shop Update

I found these ceramic Blue Willow canisters at an estate sale a few weeks ago and almost passed them up because it was only the three, not the standard four. I had a hunch though that, because it's Blue Willow, maybe someone out there wouldn't mind that the largest sized canister is missing. Perhaps I guessed correctly...

When I came home from the sale I searched the internet for Blue Willow canisters and found that there are very few out there for sale. This set is not marked but I did find one or two other sellers that had the same canisters and theirs were marked Japan. Johnson Brothers England also made a Blue Willow canister set.
 Nevertheless, I'm sure that Tina in New Jersey is going to love her new Blue Willow canisters!

The remaining items (as follows) are still available in my Esty shop Plum Blossom Decor.

This J & G Meakin ironstone platter in the 'Blue Nordic' pattern was made in England in the 1970s. It is 12" wide and 9-1/4" in height and is dishwasher safe. Blue Nordic, also known as Blue Onion, is a very popular pattern and appears to be widely collected. Its abstract floral design is Scandinavian influenced and quite popular amongst those that like almost anything blue and white. The fact that this pattern is dishwasher safe is a bonus as it can actually be used for everyday meals!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree: An Etsy Shop Update

Also available is a sweet (albeit mismatched) pair of Japanese ceramic fans. The fan on the left has pretty pink and purple irises, blue leaves, gold highlights, and a raised or embossed texture. Although the white fan does not have any decoration, it has all the same raised or embossed textures as the decorated fan. These would be fun to use for sushi night or for jewelry next to your bedside or on your dresser. They would also be nice displayed on a bookshelf or piano.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree: An Etsy Shop Update

Another lovely item for your consideration is this 'Canton style' Chinese decorative bottle with lid. It features a wrap around pattern, similar to Blue Willow, with pagoda style buildings along a river that has a bridge, sailboats, trees, flowers, rocks, birds and mountains in the background. At 7" in height it would be lovely sitting on a stack of books on your shelves or as part of a vignette on a bathroom shelf or perhaps on your bedside table.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree: An Etsy Shop Update

And lastly, a Chinese ginger jar with a hand painted 'chintz-like' pattern. It is 7" in height and there are interesting borders on the top and bottom of the jar as well as on the lid, and a floral medallion on the front and back. A classic piece that will work anywhere you choose to place it.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree: An Etsy Shop Update

So head on over to Plum Blossom Decor on Etsy to see more details, photos, videos and prices. Everything here is available (except the sold Blue Willow canister set) and in excellent vintage condition with no chips, cracks or crazing to the glaze. And don't forget to use the code PlumBlossom10 for a ten percent discount on your order!

Thank you for looking and bye for now...


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Friday, July 8, 2022

Vintage Finds: Chinoiserie Figurine Lamp

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Vintage Finds: Chinoiserie Figurine Lamp

Hello friends! Have you ever had some small task or idea rattle around in your brain for years before it ever sees the light of day? Of course you have! Today's post is all about just such an event. Way back in 2016 I published a 'Vintage Finds' segment entitled Vintage Finds: Tickled Pink on this blog. I shared three charity shop finds, one of which was this Asian lady figurine that appeared to be a lamp base.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Vintage Finds: Chinoiserie Figurine Lamp

It is hollow ceramic and has an open bottom as well as openings on the top of her head and in the back, just above the base.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Vintage Finds: Chinoiserie Figurine Lamp

I don't know if it ever was a lamp in the past. When I found it at the thrift store it did not have any hardware attached to it. After I purchased it and wrote the blog post I placed it on a bookshelf. I remember some time after that Jimmy and I were shopping at one of the big box home stores and I saw a packaged lamp kit. While it seemed to be the right size it had parts I knew I didn't need so I passed on it and Jimmy suggested I take the lamp to a lighting store. Six years later I did just that!

The helpful staff at Brighter Homes Lighting Gallery had the parts in stock and assembled the lamp while I waited. It has taken years, but this small Asian lady figurine has finally become a cute accent lamp!

A great feature of this lamp is the dynamic posture of the figure. Her legs are front facing, yet her torso is slightly turned to her left. Her left hand grips her garment and in her right hand she holds a fan. With her fancy clothing and headpiece I'm sure she will begin to dance at any moment!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Vintage Finds: Chinoiserie Figurine Lamp

There are no markings or labels but I have no doubt that we're looking at a mid century piece. The colors are quintessentially 1950s and Oriental themed home decor was quite a big influence back then. There is some glaze crazing but overall it's in excellent vintage condition - no chips or repairs.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Vintage Finds: Chinoiserie Figurine Lamp
Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Vintage Finds: Chinoiserie Figurine Lamp 
For my vignette here, I styled my new lamp with a vintage Japanese runner duck that Jimmy once gifted me and a mid century Haeger planter into which I planted a couple of mini ferns from Trader Joe's.
 
Oh, and the lamp shade is a white 6.75" (height) silk/shantung bell shape clip on from Wayfair although when I purchased mine several weeks ago it was $35.99 with free shipping.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Vintage Finds: Chinoiserie Figurine Lamp

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Vintage Finds: Chinoiserie Figurine Lamp

Thanks for looking and bye for now...

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