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.
 

SHARE:

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...


SHARE:

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...

SHARE:

Sunday, June 26, 2022

Hey There Tree Climber!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Hey There Tree Climber! scrapbook page by June Anderson

Hey There! I've always meant to share more scrapbook pages, but alas, as I look back at what I've posted here in the past, there isn't much! So today I'm publishing this layout about my son Tayo that I just finished.

Scrapbook pages are both a labor of love and (for me anyway) a labor intense activity. I spend a lot of time thinking about the stories that I want to tell and how I can best portray the character or characters and describe the event. I also spend a lot of time thinking about what the visual representation of the story looks and feels like. Traditional pages, like that above, are a fun and creative way to represent events, milestones or personality traits.

As well, the act of making a page is a vigorous mental activity that I enjoy getting lost in. Like collage, I enjoy solving design problems and spend quite a bit of time just sitting with everything in front of me and experimenting. A part of my brain gets very charged from this activity so I tend to want to stay there!

This page, titled Hey There Tree Climber! addresses both Tayo's love of tree climbing and showcases his sweet nature at age eight. There a quite a few photographs through the years of him climbing trees but I chose this particular set of photos because I was anxious to try out my new Spellbinders Layered Cherry Blossom cutting dies. Cherry or Plum Blossoms appear quite frequently around our house so I know I will get a lot of mileage out of this die set. In fact, I plan to make more scrapbook pages and some greeting cards as well.

For the base of my page I used two sheets of 12" x 12" Beautiful Things paper from BoBunny: Garden Party and Beauty. Before machine stitching the Beauty paper to the Garden Party paper I cut a section out of the middle of the Garden Party paper and set it aside for another project.

Each of the three photos are matted with Bazzill Avalanche cardstock.

The ornate florals are also cut from Avalanche cardstock and the remainder of the flower buds and branches are cut from leftover Bazzill bits and pieces. The details of the flowers are amazing! In fact once I had all the pieces cut I kept them in a vintage tray that was decorated with cherry blossoms and I got fooled more than once!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Hey There Tree Climber! scrapbook page by June Anderson

It took me a long time to maneuver the main branches and flowers into place while at the same time making sure there was room for the title and journaling.

The title, as well as the two moth stickers and the tabs on the sides of the photos are all from the Simple Stories Simple Vintage Indigo Garden Sticker Book. The journaling is printed onto copy paper. And finally, the insects at the bottom left of the page are cut from a sheet of 12" x 12" BoBunny Beautiful Things Collected paper.

And that's it! I'm happy how this page turned out and I hope you enjoyed seeing it.

Thanks for looking and bye for now!


 

SHARE:

Monday, June 20, 2022

Plum Blossom Decor: An Etsy Shop Update


Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

Hello friends, I haven't written about my Etsy shop Plum Blossom Decor for a long time. The shop is in the process of being revised because my interest in all things chinoiserie has overtaken my love of vintage tea ware. There was a hiccup in renaming the shop and there are still a few things to fix but I am anxious and motivated to complete the transition.

I still adore old teacup sets (and 'pretty vintage' things) and will continue to offer them in my shop but over time I will be focusing more on vintage Chinese and Japanese home decor items, as well as vintage English items featuring the chinoiserie themes. There will also be a few choice Mid Century items as well.

In fact, today I'm sharing five new items (above) that have just been listed: Three Famille Rose pieces: a large statement vase (center), a large tea jar or ginger jar (left rear), a 'fishbowl' planter (left front) and two Rose Medallion items - a small wall plate (right, rear) and a teacup and saucer set (right front).

Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items are considered a quintessential part of the chinoiserie home fashion look. Famille Rose, with its 'court' or 'salon' scenes typically depict people in a formal setting carrying out traditional duties. Rose Medallion items do not feature people, but rather are portraits of the natural world. The 'rose' referred to is actually a peony. Both Famille Rose and Rose Medallion share common painted background characteristics of peonies, moths, birds, pomegranates, gold highlights and lots and lots of 'fill-in' florals and greenery. Pinks and greens are the traditional colors, but there is some variation.

At 14-1/4" in height this vase can certainly be considered a statement piece. It has beautiful bright colors and portrayals of courtly behavior within a cartouche-like frame on both the front and back of the piece. There are birds, moths, pomegranates and florals with gold highlights filling in all the spaces.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

This lidded tea jar or ginger jar also depicts a court or salon scene. It is 10-3/4" in height and 6" in diameter. It has florals, moths, greenery and gold highlights. A perfect shelf styling accessory!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

One of the more fun items in the Famille Rose family of items I'm offering is this small (5" in height) 'fishbowl' planter. While it has the traditional salon or court scene attributes on both the front and the back (as well as two bird panels), it has a surprise element. Unlike most house plant containers, this one has a finished interior which renders it just as beautiful on the inside as on the outside. Keep scrolling and you'll see what I'm referring to...

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

Don't you just love those fish? They are both realistic and stylistic at the same time!

And lastly, the Rose Medallion wall plate and teacup and saucer set. The wall plate is 6" in diameter, and has four panels that contain the traditional rose and greenery elements. There is a lovely scalloped border with gold highlight and it has two holes in the back which make adding to your plate wall super easy!

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale
Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

The tea set has the same cartouche-like panels, with birds the central theme here. There are also the roses, peonies, moths, and an abundance of greenery as well as gold rims and gold embellishing in all the spaces within the greenery.

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale
Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

Under The Plum Blossom Tree, Plum Blossom Decor, An Etsy Shop Update features vintage Famille Rose and Rose Medallion home decor items for sale

As mentioned at the beginning, all items featured in this blog post are available in my Etsy shop Plum Blossom Decor. All are in excellent vintage condition with no chips, cracks, glaze crazing or repairs. Each piece has been carefully cleaned and inspected. As always, my goal is to offer the best quality vintage chinoiserie, oriental and asian style home decor items for your enjoyment. So if you love this kind of timeless home decor, visit my shop! For more details, including video clips and prices, visit Plum Blossom Decor and enjoy a ten percent discount with the code PlumBlossom10!

Thanks for looking!

SHARE:

Sunday, June 5, 2022

The Meeting Place

collage, hand cut vintage paper collage, vintage hand cut paper collage, mixed media collage, dance collage, bird collage

Hello again!
 
I'm so glad to be back sharing another collage with you. Since I never quite know which direction the creative part of my brain is going to pull me in, it always feels like a miracle that I managed to not only execute a project, but get it photographed and sit myself down to write about it.
 
In my post last week, I talked about the challenge of creating atmosphere. Since then, I've been thinking about visual story telling. As I survey the collage works that I've been making I see a common theme: character development. There is a lot of talk in the political world about finding common ground in our humanity. Of course right now, that idea is the furthest thing from our current situation, but I digress...
 
When choosing images to use in my pieces, it appears that I often start with the human figure. This might seem obvious but the truth is that I am not a 'people person' at all. Rather, I prefer solitude and need a lot of time and space for processing thoughts, actions and words. This reality came to me slowly over the last twenty years as I watched my son grow up. We are so much alike in this respect! It's like looking in the rear view mirror sometimes.
 
But again, while it feels ironic to me to start the creative process with the human form, I am beginning to understand the reason for it. Not only am I looking to create an atmosphere but I am trying to get to the heart of what it feels like to be human, which again, is how I am digging into how we relate (and react) to the world around us. I have to laugh at myself as I re-read what I am writing here. And then I want to cry because I should have been doing this kind of work in my twenties!
 
So what is it about the human dynamic that are we looking at in today's collage? The simple explanation is that I found a vintage book about the history of dance (which I also talked about last week) and the ballerina (above) is cut from that book.
 
And because in the book she was leaning in a doorway, I needed to capitalize on that posture. So after I cut the image out I went traveling through my bird books to find her a companion. Meet the Ascension Island frigatebird (Fregata aquila). Once I placed them together, it felt like their relationship to one another immediately took on a 'fairy-tale-like' quality.
 
Also, I realized right away that in order for both images to be better viewed, that the dancer needed to be standing on something, otherwise the pair would have to sit too far down on the bottom edge. So I found the dancer a plinth and suddenly, when placing the pair on my painted background in that way, the atmosphere began to come alive!
 
I like how it looks like a genuinely personal moment between the two 'characters' and decided to give the piece an aura of a taking place in a garden. I debated with myself about completely filling the space with flowers and maybe more birds. But, being the minimalist that I am, instead settled on just two other red elements, creating a visual triangle with the frigatebird's inflatable red pouch.
 
From this vantage point, the rest is left to the imagination: is the ballerina a statue, permanently affixed to the top of a column? Or is she a real human that must climb up the column to meet her friend? Lover? Or is the frigatebird enamored with either a statue or a human and perches on a nearby branch to rendezvous with her? More importantly, (in the traditional vein of the fairy-tale) what could be a lesson here?
 
You might think of a completely different take on the scene above. And that's okay, because we're all on the same journey and we need to explore, address and express how we see the world around us and communicate those thoughts and feelings in healthy ways that can advance a conversation or cause to find that common ground that the world desperately needs right now.
 
How do you make sense of the world these days?
SHARE:

Sunday, May 29, 2022

James Waring Dances the Merz

hand cut vintage paper collage, vintage hand cut paper collage, character development in collage, atmosphere in collage, painted backgrounds in collage

Hello Friends!

It's been fun getting back into the groove of collage.

I've been working on creating painted abstract backgrounds to add more color and interest to my compositions. I'm also challenging myself to be more selective in my gluing process so as to allow more dimension. I'm using just enough raised foam adhesive to glue the pieces down yet allow for some shadow effect. If you look to the right of each of the elements above you can see this happening.

With Covid restrictions easing up, Jimmy and I were excited to read that the public library was bringing back their annual Library Book Sale. He likes to read mystery authors such as H.C. Bailey and I enjoy looking for 'collage fodder' so we donned our masks, headed to the sale, and had fun getting lost in the world of books.

One book in particular that I was excited to find was Anthology of Dance. It's from the 1970s and is a compendium of the modern dance movement from that time. I had been waiting to find a vintage book on modern dance, so this book, with its somewhat grainy black and white photographs was perfect!

As I flipped through the book, this image of James Waring (1922-1975) caught my attention immediately. At first he reminded me of Sherlock Holmes with his dark hair and top hat. But I was also enamored with his dance outfit and pose. And when I read the short paragraph accompanying his photo and learned that he was not only a dancer, choreographer and teacher but also dabbled in collage, my interest was kindled! The book also mentioned that in both dance and collage he was influenced by, prioritized and embraced experimentalism.

I love the challenge of creating atmosphere in collage (another reason for adding paint), and I will often add birds in flight as part of that idea. There is something about a grand landscape where, as one takes in the stillness of an expansive panoramic view, the sight of birds flying across the sky seems to slow the passing of time and allows the space within ourselves to expand. Some might call it Buddha-nature.

In that spirit, I thought it would be fun to place Waring in a time and place where he is in the process of, well, it could be collage... but it might be dance.

His outstretched arm led me to think how that gesture could be a part of the story and I also considered how experimentalism, like Dada and Merz, challenge the viewer's perceptions about what art is. In particular Waring's choreography is considered 'collage-like' in its experimentation and unexpected juxtapositions. So why not place him within a fanciful atmosphere, casting his cards, and relying on the serendipitious landing of the cards to tell him what the next dance steps will be? Or perhaps his intention is to create a collage, based on chance, wherein he will paste the cards in the exact arrangement they will fall in. Either way, the viewer is a witness to Waring's expressive pose and his creativity in that moment, slowed by the sight of a migrating bird...

SHARE:
© Under The Plum Blossom Tree | All rights reserved.
Blogger Template Created by pipdig