Wednesday, October 26, 2016

The Last of the Flowers

Hello, friends, as October comes to an end, 
so have most of my flowers. 

All except a few hardy blooms, such as 
these winter pansies. 

A few calibrachoa are still blooming, too. 

Let's take a look around and see what else 
is blooming here at my home in the foothills
of Washington State.

We've had one of the wettest October's on record, 
but this day is full of beautiful sunshine. 

I have swept the deck of fallen leaves.......

An everyday task this time of year. 

I try not to think of the leaves I need to rake on the ground! 

My two helpers, Whitey Bear and Kai. 

Every breeze sends the wind-chimes 
singing and brings the leaves falling down. 

But for now, the sun is shining and the air is still. 

It does get cool at night now, but not 
enough for frost. 
Daytime temperatures are still mild, 
55-65 degrees. 

You can see the begonia are still blooming. 
Kai is always on alert. 

These are double begonia and I wish I bought more
of them last spring. They have been blooming 
non-stop since May. 

I will be sure to look for more next year. 

Japanese maple is losing her beautiful leaves. 

A pot of redwood sorrel sits on the rail. 

I've had this plant for many years. 
I bring it in for winter. 

Can you see the blossom?

So tiny and delicate. 

A stink bug rests on a leaf in the sunshine. 

White impatiens bloom among the chocolate mint. 

More white impatiens are blooming
on the window ledge. 

You can see the hummingbird feeder and a few 
stray leaves. The lilac has already lost her leaves. 

Just blooming away.....
You can see the skylight in my living room
through the window :)

Surprisingly the bees have been visiting the 
feeders these last few weeks, much to the dismay of 
the hummingbirds. 

I've set out extra feeders everywhere to give the birds
a better chance. 

The Anna's hummingbirds stay year-round. 
The Rufous hummingbirds have already left. 

There is one last rose blooming in the garden. 

This weekend the ceramic bird bath will be put away. 

One last Nikko blue hydrangea blooms behind. 

Nikko blue turns lovely colors this time of year. 

I gather the beautiful blooms for baskets and vases. 

Hydrangea and crab-apple by the birdbath. 

One last foxglove :)

I've finished sweeping the deck for now. 

White alyssum, and bacopa still bloom on 
the old baker's rack. 

The fairies have packed up and left their pan garden. 

The pineapple sage is ready for harvest. 
I was hoping it would bloom, but the growing season
is not long enough. 

Beautiful fall colors. 

Mt. Rainier is hidden in the mountain clouds. 

Viburnum turns a rosy hue. 

Winter Pansies wait to be potted. 

Happy little faces. 

Just waiting for me to find time. 

 The hydrangea gathered for my table :)

Kai waits by the door. 
There's a cat on the other side. 
They like to play together. 

Ling Ling ready for play......

Time to sweep the deck again! 

I hope you enjoyed visiting my flowers, 
dear friends! 


Today I am linking with:

Flower Wednesday

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Monday, October 24, 2016

Autumn Leaf Sculptures

Hello, Dear Friends, I hope you are enjoying these 
beautiful Autumn days. 

Thank you so much for your sweet visits! 

Today I would like to share with you a craft 
that I previously posted way back in 2011
when I first started blogging - Leaf Sculptures. 

I have enjoyed these leaf sculptures every year since, 
as you can see by these photographs that I took this morning :)

I thought these were worth sharing once again......

Imitate Nature by crafting decorative leaf sculptures.

This is an idea from a vintage Martha Stewart Living Magazine. I love that magazine and have had a subscription since the very first issue. I have always wanted to make these, but they looked difficult. I am happy to say, they are very easy. I would not recommend this craft for young children, as there is oven baking and sharp craft knives involved, but older children might enjoy it with parental supervision.

Go outside and select a variety of sturdy leaves with prominent ribbing on the undersides.

Roll out a piece of craft clay (the kind that can be baked in the oven - I used 'Sculpey'. One 794g - 1.75 lb box.) Roll clay approx. 1/4 inch thick. Protect your surface and rolling pin with waxed or parchment paper. Place a leaf on the clay, cover it with waxed paper, and roll evenly until the leaf makes a clear impression in the clay.

Remove waxed paper. With a craft knife, carefully cut the clay along the outline of the leaf. Allow extra width around thin stems.

Cover a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Roll a piece of aluminum foil into a tight tube. Curl the tube into a loose ring or horse shoe shape. This serves as a support for the leaf as it bakes, giving it a more natural, undulating shape.

Bake the clay according to manufacturer's instructions. (Approx. 15 min.)

Once completely cooled, you can paint the leaves, giving them beautiful Autumn hues. The directions in the magazine called for water-based transparent lacquer, but I couldn't find that in my craft store. So I used acrylic water-based craft paint, the kind that comes in the small bottles. They come in many different colors. I chose subtle Autumn colors of True Ochre (gold), Burnt Sienna (reddish), Golden Brown, and Timberline Green ( a soft mossy green).

I watered down the paint, approx. 50-50 for the first coat. I brushed on the gold as an undercoat on all the leaves. Don't forget the undersides and the edges. I used the foil covered baking pans and rolled tubes to set the painted leaves upon.

Once I was finished with the base coat, I let that dry about 30 minutes and then I mixed the rest of the colors with water, but used a little more paint this time in the ratio. A little goes a long way, so only use one good squirt of paint at a time, about the size of a quarter and a tiny amount of water.

I then added color from the edges inward. I used the darker Burnt Sienna around all of the edges. I used the Golden Brown to fill in the middle. The watered down paint will softly fill in the lines and creases, giving it a 'true to nature' look. I used the Timberline Green on one small leaf.

When the leaves were thoroughly dry, (I left them to dry overnight), I gave them a final coat of Acrylic Matt Varnish. (Not Glossy) This is also water based, but don't water it down. You can find this where the craft paint is sold. It seals the leaves and allows you to gently wipe them down with water to clean them. (Do not submerge in water)

When you are done, you will have beautiful leaf sculptures to display on your mantel or table. The larger leaves can be used for serving nuts, candy or crackers.

I hope you try making these easy Leaf Sculptures 
some rainy Autumn day! 


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