Wednesday, March 31

Getting ready for the Spring Garden Tour

Here is the front porch bed all tired and overgrown from the winter…

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In progress…

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I spent many hours tearing out the adorable but invasive vinca minor (periwinkle), and adding a bunch of annuals and perennials (lavender, marguerite daisy, verbena, a low ornamental grass, a cordlyine) – with a few more to come next weekend.  I also pruned all the suckers and extra heads on the gorgeous sego palm – much bettah!

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And here it is all spiffed up for our participation in the Spring Garden Tour on April 18

DSC_0046 You can see the baby Neon Rose Wave Petunias in the photo above.  This color Wave petunia won’t be on the market until NEXT Spring, but I entered a contest on the Wave Rave website and WON!  Six 3-inch Neon Rose starts, and six 3-inch white Angelonia starts! I get to be one of their little “test gardeners”.

I am a huge fan of these high-performance babies! I’ll post some pics in a few weeks and you’ll see why!  Each little start should produce waves and waves of bright blooms –around a six-foot diameter per plant – EVEN in the desert.

Go here to become an official fan and maybe you’ll win stuff, too.

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Above, Kirby and Roxy, always at the ready to “help”.

Monday, March 29

Quote of the Week – March 29, 2010

“I learned this, at least, by my experiment: that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavours to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours.

He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded, and interpreted in his favour in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings.

In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.”

-Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, March 28

Mourning dove love

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These two sweeties sat quietly in this same spot for over 30 minutes right before dusk last night, even tolerating me out there with my camera… EVEN accompanied by Kirby the curious cat. 

The reason they are so peacefully complacent is that they have just finished an intricate mating dance, followed by, well… the actual mating.  From the kitchen sink window, I was able to witness the entire thing beginning to end, unwilling to risk missing a beat by fetching my camera at the back of the house. 

Yet apparently, I still had plenty of time, as they remained perched there for the duration, the male standing alert while the female rested.

Perhaps they were held captive by the heady aroma of the jasmine in full bloom?

Saturday, March 27

Final photos of commissioned quilt: Big Blue

Now on its way to Amsterdam, I got some last photos of Big Blue Moonlight Serenade.  Which turned out to be right on time, as in the meantime, the new owners of Big Blue had decided to get married. April 27th is the Big Day! 

DSC_0056I love knowing my first international commission became an unwitting wedding gift for my dear friends and tribemates Odeke and Berry! Whoo-hoo!!

Final
Finished size 100 x 113 inches – that’s like 8 x 9.5 feet! Larger than a California King!  And each of those little squares is about an 1 inch by one inch!  But it was way fun!

DSC_0052Enlarge photo above to see the stunning quilting detail, done by Mary Vaneecke of El Sol Quilting.

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If you are interested in commissioning a quilt, check out this page on my website

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Here are the rest of the blogposts (with photos) that document the whole process of making this luscious giant of a quilt:

Monday, March 22

Quote of the Week – March 22, 2010

You don't take 'baby steps' for the distance they cover, but to put yourself within reach of life's magic.

Just like you don't hoist your sails to move the boat, but to put yourself within reach of the wind.

-Mike Dooley

Monday, March 15

Quote of the Week – March 15, 2010

No end, no end to the journey
no end, no end ever
become the sky
take an axe to the prison wall,
escape
walk out like someone
suddenly born into color
do it now.

-Rumi

Sunday, March 14

Consider treating yourself to a painting holiday in southern France!


FrenchStepsNicola (2)

Nicola2On our trip to France last autumn, Ken and I had the great pleasure of developing a friendship with English artist Nicola Blakemore, now happily living and working in Quarante in the French Languedoc.  It was one of those times where I felt I’d met up with a long-lost sister. 

BignGarrigo (2)I attended several of her enjoyable painting classes.  These were hosted by innkeeper Sarah Over, at her beautiful rural bed-and-breakfast, Bigno Garrigo in Barres, a little hamlet just outside of Quarante.

Nicola (2)Based on the success of these painting classes, Nicola and Sarah have put their heads together and at come up with the idea of running week-long (and weekend-long) “painting holidays” at the B&B, taught by Nicola!

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LadiesPainting (2)I invite you to click through here and have a look – and perhaps start dreaming of taking yourself to rural France to dive into your inner artist!  Painting Holidays with Artist Nicola Blakemore.

Monday, March 8

Friday, March 5

Riding the Waves

I think I will call this little guy “Riding the Waves”.  I made it as a study for a quilt I want to make for our bed.  Wouldn’t this make a cool quilt?

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Riding the Waves
Watercolor on paper
5 x 7 inches
Copyright 2010, T. Claire O’Connor

Thursday, March 4

Stained glass or quilt? You decide…

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I was re-photographing this small quilt to use on my new business card, so I took it outside this morning and taped it to one of the north-facing studio windows and got my shot (see below).  Then I came in the house for something and on my way back out the door, the photo above is what I saw.  Cool, huh?!  Hmmmm….

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Blue Moves
Machine pieced, unquilted
Commercial batiks, 20 x 30 inches
©2009, T. Claire O'Connor

Wednesday, March 3

The clear winner!

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Many thanks to all who voted via email and Facebook – and an acknowledgement to those who suffered my technical incompetencies and who were not able to view the 4 choices. Choice #1 was the clear winner – now I just need to get a higher-res photo of that quilt and I’m off to place my order with www.vistaprint.com!

Tuesday, March 2

Vote on my new biz card design…

Hi all,

I am just about to place an order for new business cards and I can’t quite decide which of the following 4 cards I like best.  Help me decide by casting your vote, either by emailing me directly at claire@enchantedstudio.net, or by posting your vote in the comments section below.  Many thanks for your input!  I’ll let you know which one gets the most votes!

Option 1:

Option 2:Option 3 (front):

(Back side of Option 3):

Option 4 (front):livepreview

(Back side of Option 4):

Monday, March 1

Babies rule!

Purdy hysterical…

Quote of the Week – March 1, 2010

Look at the tree in the front yard. The tree doesn't seem to be doing anything. It stands there, vigorous, fresh, and beautiful, and everyone profits from it. That's the miracle of being. If a tree were less than a tree, all of us would be in trouble.  But if a tree is a real tree, then there's hope and joy. That's why if you can be yourself, that is already action.

Thich Nhat Hanh
Answers from the Heart