Thursday, May 20, 2010

Where the West Begins

Sunday we drove out east of Los Angeles to the Cal Poly campus in the Pomona Valley. Along the university's central drive horses graze in paddocks, their chestnut coats gleaming in the inland sun. Sheep gather in woolly clusters, enjoying the breeze down by the road. Trellises heavy with vines, break over the crest of a hill. And up near the dormitories, roses bloom and wither in an ornamental garden. You may know that I like to view things through the lens of a romanticized history. When it comes to the valleys that surround the city of Los Angeles, now overtaken by suburban sprawl, I linger on surviving pockets of the rural past, imagining the way the land once was - the ranches, the citrus groves. A western paradise out "California way" as Bing Crosby sings in a cowboy's tune about the San Fernando Valley.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Merrie May

Since last Saturday was May Day, I thought I'd delve into its history a little. "Chapter IV: May Day" in The Original Girls Handy Book (a reprint of a book published in 1887), had a few things to say about "a very pretty custom observed in Merrie England of fastening bunches of flowering shrubs and branches upon the doors of neighbors." The author writes of the (then) surviving tradition in New England, of "hanging upon the door-knobs of friends spring-offerings in the shape of small baskets filled with flowers." The historical influences end there since my "May Day basket" is a paper cone with a fun, scrapbook-inspired look. Usually I carefully plan the supplies I'll use for a project in advance, but for this I tried to use any and every supply I had on hand. I started with a kraft paper base and added from there.The colorful printed papers are various designs from K & Company, except for the tiny pink heart print which I posted here. Other elements include; spun cotton mushroom, velvet millinery leaf, paper flowers, vintage buttons, Blumchen butterflies, white paper doily, ruffle sewn from crepe paper, colored brads, iridescent glitter, beaded trim and ribbon.The top of the cone is finished off with pink tinsel trim and a ruffle made from old sheet music. The inside is lined with light blue paper, finished with scallop edge scissors.Once it was finished I treated myself to some pink ranunculus, which always remind me of this place near home.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Crepe Bouquet

Nearby there's a faded yellow apartment house, the one on the corner trimmed with white fluted pilasters and creeping dark ivy. A small tree grows in the side yard, casting a spray of spindly branches up over the tall hedge that hems it in against the street. I've measured nearly two years by those branches, passing under them en route to campus. Looking up to see their barren silhouette against the gray chill of December. Watching them alight with five-petaled buds in the cloudless blue of late spring.Now, those branches are dusted with petals in the slightest shade of pink and the season is fully fledged. Today I bring you an appropriately springtime craft that I created for Janie's wonderful site The Bride's Cafe. I hope you'll head on over to see more photos and complete instructions for making your own crepe paper bouquet.