What a wonderful surprise!

We went up to Richmond, Virginia to meet my sister and her husband who had travelled down from Boston. Unfortunately it was pouring (as in cats and dogs) the day we drove up, but the rain stopped within a few hours and was just drizzling and gray the rest of our stay. While we did the usual touristy things, we also exchanged small gifts (we don’t see each other often…)

Those of you who know me know my sister was an M.D. at a major city hospital. She retired last year and now is very, very involved in a ceramic studio! Quel changement, non? Quite a change. She is happy, happy being there but more than that, she is producing some really lovely items. Her latest endeavors have been with bone china; knowing my flower addiction she brought me two vases.

Take a look at these and you too will be envious!







These lovely pink tulips are Darwin Hybrid  ”Ollioules”, bought from Terra Ceia Farms. This is a wonderful bulb (and other) supplier in North Carolina. Shop local!



This is the same tulip, but they vary in pink intensity:





One more tulip shot:
These are “Orange Emperor” from John Scheepers, another quality bulb supplier. And the yellow are, I think, “Akebono”, a Double Darwin Hybrid. I’m not positive about these, as I have lost the paperwork and order… But the combination was stunning and they appeared just in time for my big party last Saturday. I could not have timed it better!


Finally. Last week I showed you my viburnum carlesii that was just about to burst into bloom. Well, it happened! All week I have been smelling that glorious vanilla scent as I work in my garden and the shrub has put forth the best, most prolific show of flowers that I’ve ever seen:


Thanks for visiting and following along: I appreciate your support!

I”m joining in a new “garden party” called
Garden Bloggers’ Bloom Day! Take a look at more wonderful gardens here.




I have a question for everyone who reads this blog.

Some of you, my readers and/or followers, comment on various posts. You know who you are!
And I, like almost every other blog author, love to receive your comments. Your comments come in on the post and are visible when you click the round red dot at the top or bottom of the post.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 5.14.22 PM
In addition to this, all comments also come in to my email inbox so I see them right away.

My question to you is about my response to your comments.

Which of these two do you prefer:

1) To have me respond directly to you via email?
2) To see my reply just under your comment, on the blog post?

I’ve been thinking about this , and looking at many other blogs for what seems to be the preferred  and popular way to respond to comments. While I do not respond to each and every comment, I do go through cycles of ways of responding, with the personal email response coming out ahead.

First, let me say, that commenting in general has decreased all over blog land. All blogs receive fewer comments than a few years ago. I think we all read SO MANY blogs, and the attention given to any one post is SO minimal and fast, that the time required to comment simply is not there.

Also, as a side note to this, I think the iPad has something to do with this decrease. I know I try to write comments as I read blogs on my iPad (which is the device of choice more often than not) and it is more difficult and frustrating to type on the Ipad keyboard than on a regular one: it’s a game of hunt and peck, mistakes proliferate, wrong keys are hit, and the level of frustration rises to the point of “Oh, forget this, I don’t have time to do this and let me move on….”.

Screen Shot 2014-04-06 at 11.08.53 AM

As MacWorld’s Rene Ritchie says:
“ Typing on an iPad is a decidedly deliberate affair. Absent a hardware keyboard, there’s no feeling to the keys, no mechanical switch to the process, no muscle memory to produce words and phrase at the speed of thought. You almost have to look at what you’re typing, and look again to make sure what was rendered matched your intent. ”
One solution (if you’re looking for one) is to buy a keyboard such as the Logitech . Come to think of it, I will do a post for all of you in the near future, showing you my latest finds for the best keyboards. Mine has worn out, from over use I am sure, so I’m looking for a new one.

Getting back to my question above…. PLEASE, let me know what YOU prefer
1) an email reply
2) my reply to you in the blog comment section, just under your comment

As a P.S. here I feel compelled to add my own pet peeve: bloggers who never, EVER, respond to comments. There are a few blogs I have been following for several years, have left numerous comments, and may have also emailed them privately but have never heard back. (I am amazed I still follow or read these blogs!) Where are your manners? Ok: just had to get that out there!




I started with the vase: it’s one of my own designs from many years ago done for Hausenware.
Next, I gathered some daffodils from various parts of my garden. Some of the daffs have long since faded and withered, but others are just coming out. Most of these were actually planted long before we moved here so it’s a wonderful bonus to see them each spring (and not really know just what I ‘m going to see.)

Then, once again, those wonderful hellebore foetidus.

And finally, some rosemary which has just begun to flower (can you see those tiny bits of blue?).



I had a few minutes this evening to play with some filters. This one, below, is
Kim Klassen’s Sunkist, at 76% opacity.


For a totally different look, I tried the Waterlogue effect:


The viburnum carlesii will be blooming very soon! I had these shrubs up North and just love them. Oh, the scent…it is part vanilla and part spice and is one of the finest plants around.


 I’m entertaining thirty at my Saturday morning , monthly, women’s group so I’ll be picking some more flowers for that. And, of course, baking lots of goodies.
We’re off to a brand new destination on Monday; I hope to show you images and places and who knows what from there!




One of the things that has given me the most joy in moving to a totally new environment is the ability to make new friends. More than the ability there is also, for me, the need to do this, as I find myself wanting to share the things that interest and motivate me.  Of course I have made so many new friends on line through this blog, but the community in which I live, here in North Carolina, has become more important than I could have imagined.

Each fall we have an artists studio tour sponsored by the Orange County Artists Guild ….. and that is how I met
Elaine O’Neil.

Take a look at two (of many) of her textile collages:

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 9.32.22 PM

Screen Shot 2014-03-23 at 9.33.29 PM

 You can read all about Elaine and “her story” on her website.

Elaine calls herself a “textile collage artist.”  She certainly is that, but she is so much more. Having met Elaine in her house where her studio is located, I knew I wanted to see more and really talk to her. So a few months later I called and asked if I could come over to take some pictures, send her some “interview” questions ahead of time, and just hang out for an hour or so.

Here are the questions I had sent to Elaine ahead of time and which she answered so thoroughly and thoughtfully.

Me:    Would you describe your process in creating a “textile collage” for us? What is the very first step?

Elaine:   I begin every textile collage with a simple, rough sketch.   If I am working on a specific place, I have photos from that place and try to capture the feeling of that place.  Once I am happy with the sketch, I pull fabrics from my bins to create a color palette.  At that point, I start layering the background colors-sky first, then the land/ground on top of that.  (I use a sturdy backing fabric underneath.)  I sew each layer using a very close satin stitch.  Most often I don’t make patterns, but simply cut the shapes and position them in place and then sew around each, being sure to cover the raw edges. I use threads with different sheens to add different effects. The last step is always placing a crescent (sometimes full) moon in the sky.  At that point, I square the sides and choose a complimentary binding fabric that borders the piece.

My husband builds the frames for me- I’m lucky to have such a talented guy!  Then I paint each frame black and while still wet, I scratch a design around the perimeter.  This adds a signature look and also another texture.  The frames are then waxed and buffed. Each piece is mounted under glass with frame spacers, to ensure the piece is not touching the glass.

Me:    Is color a driving force for you? Or is pattern more important? Or placement? Do you look to use different, quirky colors in your work or do you stay within a certain range?

Elaine:  Color is very important to me:  bright, cheerful, happy colors are what I use with a good dose of black or navy.  I don’t like muddy colors.  Certainly, I change palettes with each piece, but the look is very colorful.  Pattern is important too- but that’s secondary.  In a finished piece, the composition is the first thing you’ll see, but then you start to realize all of the patterns printed on the fabrics used; sometimes that surprises people that I am using a pattern that they at first didn’t even notice.  It becomes almost an “eye-Spy” kind of thing.  I get fabrics everywhere… from quilting stores to home decoration  stores.  People give me their leftover drapery swatches, and I regularly go to the thrift store or through my closet if I’m needing something specific!

Me:     Are your fabrics arranged, in your studio, by color alone? Or combined with scale and/or pattern?

Elaine: My fabrics are arranged by color in wire bins hung on the wall that I can see into/through.

Me:  Do you play music while you work? Or news or talk radio? Or silence?

Elaine:  At different points in the process I listen to different things.  Often I listen to NPR (unless it gets too political) during the laying out of the design and fabric cutting.  Very often I listen to Pandora on my computer- I have different favorite stations depending on my mood. When I’m sewing I listen to music. There are times, though, when I cannot listen to anything… this happens during sketching when I am trying to get the whole thing started.  That is the hardest time for me, and I need to think and hear and see only what’s in front of me.

Me:     What is your typical work “span” at one time? Do you find you get up and move around a lot, or do you focus on a process or step for a long time?

Elaine:   I am in my studio from about 9:00 am until about 7:30 pm. These are long stretches. I like being there and once I’m in the groove, I don’t want to stop.  Sometimes my husband will say “Laine, it’s 10:30, I’m going to bed,  how much longer are you going to work?”  I simply lose track of time.

Me:  Do you think about your work while you run? Similar to having ideas when we are half asleep, do you have ideas when you’re running? Or do you try not to think about work at that time?

Elaine:  I work through so many design issues when I run.  I come back with tons of ideas and things to try.  It’s amazing how much gets accomplished in my head during a run.   

Me:   Other than using textiles, do you find time, or have the inclination, to use paints for “free time” art work?

Elaine:  I do love to garden and use my creative skills there.  I have both a vegetable garden and a perennial/shrub garden and I love doing that and the physical labor that goes along with it.  Being outside is really important to me.

3898 picm_wm


Around the STudio_wm


Elaine at Desk_wm

At her computer, working…

From custom commissions:

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 6.11.35 PM

to very local, Chapel Hill, North Carolina imagery:

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 6.10.50 PM

to scenes from coastal Maine where she grew up and goes each summer:

Screen Shot 2014-03-29 at 6.15.02 PM

And then there is her garden:

Elaine Collage Garden_wm



To end our visit, the classic red door!

Both Elaine and I would LOVE to hear your thoughts and comments about this interview.
I hope you will go to Elaine O’Neil and look around to see her very extensive portfolio. You can also find her on Facebook here.

My thanks to Elaine for making this possible and I look forward to getting to know you better!




Time for some
 and time for some
Friday Flowers!

It’s been a while since I’ve done a post for you showing my latest loves over at Anthro. Usually it’s the jewelry, or more specifically the necklaces, over which I drool. Today it’s their flowers on a variety of products. From dinnerware to tablecloths, to dresses to….. jewelry: let’s take a look at all of them since it IS spring (or so says the calendar).







Oh the necklaces. Just take a look over at this page and then scroll down for these and many more.

Anthro 1jpg

Anthro 2jpg

Can’t leave you without one image for Friday Flowers: these are hyacinths in my garden, painted with “waterlogue”


I’ll be back on Monday with the latest edition of
It’s Local
Just wait until you see who I am featuring! (hint: very colorful!!)