Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Life is really Good!

Do you have any idea how sweet all of you are? I miss posting once on Sunday and I started to receive all kinds of emails to see if I was all right. Yep, better then all right just got a little busy with the great outdoors. Seems like we were hit with spring and summer all at once and around our home that means plenty of outside work to be done.

That is unless you’re this character who prefers to roll around in dirt and hang out in the shade. No I don’t worry about the dirt because as soon as Dylan dries off it all falls out of his hair hopefully outside. Besides he’s a dog, he likes being in dirt!

Last weekend was one of those fifty center days, that’s the best kind of day in New England that you don’t pass on by staying inside.

I kept telling Debra over at 5th and State that I would send her pictures of our property and I got to thinking maybe you guys might like to see as well. You see all that grass it all gets mowed by yours truly! Saturday was absolutely gorgeous out and I did it all in one day and ended up a little crispy but it was so worth it to be back outside in shorts with the feel of the sun on my face.

 With every turn of the tractor the scent of wild honeysuckle was in the air!

We’re fortunate enough to have wild honeysuckle in both pink and white and it’s everywhere on our property welcoming in the hummingbirds with its sweet scent.

To mow this entire place it takes anywhere from 6 – 10 hours depending on how fast you’re going. Funny but the pace always picks up the longer you’ve been at it.

Since our property is big and can be overwhelming I break the yard up into what I call rooms rather then trying to do the whole thing at once.

This place has to be mowed almost twice a week and I can run out and hop on our tractor for an hour and get at least two “rooms” mowed. Believe it or not it’s very relaxing it's a chance to clear your head.

Out yonder is my garden room I’m working on, it’s a work in progress!

Most of our property is forested and extremely hilly. Sorry our house looks crooked in most of the pictures must have been the way I was sitting on the tractor, trust me our home sits straight.

After mowing several acres at the end of the day there’s nothing I would rather be doing then what this guy is doing, enjoying a nap in the shade, time to get our hammock up!

So there’s part of our property and I hope you’ll understand during the summer if I don’t always have time to post life is extra busy around here. But never fear I’ll always be about leaving comments!

I hope you all have a really wonderful Memorial Day weekend and be safe!


Sunday, May 13, 2012

Spring has finally Arrived!

For us in the northeast spring has been very slow to start with rainy and cold weather. The sun decided to grace us with two of the most amazing days before the rain starts back up for the week.

We’re very lucky that we have lily of the valley that likes to pop up all over on the edge of our forest.

So I clipped some and brought it inside, did you know it comes in both pink and white?

Our blueberry bushes are covered in flowers and we couldn’t be more thrilled with all the fruit we’ll yield come July.

Since the weather was so gorgeous on Saturday and we have a lot of projects to get done this spring it was off to our local nursery to get a couple of truckloads of shrubs and flowers.

While Mom and Dad placed the flowers before planting Dylan rested up before the tough work began.

Then it was time to dig! Dylan’s very good about doing the digging and all we have to do is point and stand back and let the boy go at it!

Dylan’s trying to make sure his hole is just right….

Then it’s time for a rest until the next hole needs to be dug. Oh and these raised beds were built by yours truly. Mister man didn’t touch a single stone and it drove him crazy! I told you I could build too!

I’m also putting in a dwarf boxwood hedge with short “Incredibal” hydrangea in front of it. The flower heads should dance on top on the hedge if things work out right. This little garden will lead you up to my secret garden. So that’s been our weekend lots of outside time before the rains begin again tomorrow.

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend and even better Mother’s Day with your families.

Be well, be kind and lots of love to you all!


Sunday, May 6, 2012

Fortuny Final: Silk Velvet

Fortuny e Caramba

In the last of my Fortuny series I bring you my favorite, his silk velvet. Fortuny grew up around textiles as both his parents had shops and collected textiles and he was an avid collector himself in adulthood. So it wasn’t unusual for a man who was an artist to want to experiment with the old methods of dying on fabrics. As it turned out it was the theatre that really brought his love of fabrics alive.

Fortuny e Caramba

Fortuny was sketching and designing costumes for the theatre and his first try at designing wasn’t a great success mainly because the costumes were to heavy and hampered the performers movements. This led Fortuny to experiment with a lighter weight fabric such as silk and then velvet for both his home and dresses.

Mariano Fortuny: His Life and Work

Fortuny was not interested in fashion as we know it, had no desire to be a couturier but was an artist who just happened to create clothes. The clothes themselves came from his knowledge of Greek and Venetian clothes that he painted in his paintings. He loved free flowing styles and to be honest the time period of styles was changing to clothing that was lighter and freer in movement.

Paper Illusions by Isabelle de Borchgrave

He went on to patent a dress in a Greek free flowing style that was executed in pleated silk known as his Delphos. The Delphos dresses were kept very simple and in solid colors allowing Fortuny to reinterpret historical designs from the Renaissance and 16th century Venetian art onto simply cut velvet jackets, wraps, mantles and capes. The over pieces are what allowed Fortuny to bring in color and his favorite design motifs.

Fashion Memoir: Fortuny by Delphine Desveaux

All the dresses were produced in the studio at the Palazzo Orfei and were all made by hand, individually, as were all the materials that went into them. The pleated and printed silk, the velvets, the cords that were used to gather the different parts, everything except for the glass beads, the glass beads were ordered from the Murano glass factory.

Metropolitan Museum Collection

Persepolis pattern, which is a Persian design, named for the ancient city and still produced today.

Metropolitan Museum Collection

Moresco pattern in an early Moorish style and still produced today.

My pillows in my personal collection, the blue is Fortuny's Clamys design, the green is a 16th century design

The velvet Fortuny used was a very light silk velvet that he imported from France and came in its raw state of white or slightly creamy. The whole process from raw materials to the final result depended on Fortuny. He produced the dyes, the colors, the blocks or stencils and the machines. Gives a new appreciation into his world and work.

My image

The designs on his velvets were usually layered on and he never used chemical colors but produced his own natural colors. He imported all the different ingredients from all over the world and then experimented with the colors in his studio. Look at the rich background color, Fortuny produced and dyed the velvets before applying the design. This is what makes Fortuny’s dresses less of a garment and more of a work of art.

My image

You can see that his velvets have a very low pile and while Fortuny was dying and stenciling on the velvets they went through a water wash many times over. You can’t do that with today’s velvets without ruining the pile. Unlike the softness of today’s silk velvets Fortunys' velvets are rough to the touch.

My image

Fortuny labeled his velvets with silk faille labels that he made himself and are coveted today when purchasing his silk velvet and I feel very fortunate to have two labels. If you’re ever lucky enough to come across a fragment of Fortuny’s silk velvet be forewarned a small piece big enough for a single pillow can cost over a thousand dollars.

Fortuny e Caramba

While I know this post is about Fortuny’s silk velvets there’s one area I haven’t touched on in his work and that’s his silk appliqué work. Not many people chase after his appliqués mainly because he designed these for the theatre and not many examples still exist today. I thought I would show one amazing example for you to see and this piece was design using a medieval motif.

Stephen Shubel, House & Garden

I even managed to find one interior design picture where Stephen Shubel used a piece of Fortuny’s silk velvet on a chaise. The hanging light fixture is also Fortuny’s design showing how timeless his pieces are today.

So we have the theatre to thank for Fortuny getting into textiles and the silk velvets lead to him producing a more affordable line of fabrics like the cottons. The theatre is also responsible for him producing his line of lighting as well. My post gives only a brief explanation of his textile background and I hope if this has tantalized your interest you’ll pick up a copy of one of the many books out today and have a great read. Fortuny’s life is really one of a work of art.

I hope you all have a really enjoyable week with whatever opportunity it may bring you!


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