Let’s Party!

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Hi Friends!

♫♬  “Silver white Winters that melt into Springs,
                 These are a few of my favorite things…” ♬♫

Our smiles are a bit brighter and our steps feel a bit lighter today! Can you feel it, too?

Hello Spring!!

I have always loved the change of seasons, each filled with changing weather patterns, new outdoor activities, holiday traditions to celebrate, and of course, big changes in the garden.  From my earliest days as a gardener, Spring has always been my very favorite time of year.

It’s so exciting to watch the garden grow in early Spring. Here in the Midwest, it’s still much too early to plant. For the next few weeks, I will enjoy daily walks through the garden, a bit of pruning here and there, and a lot of gardenkeeping. It’s the perfect time for dreaming and garden planning, too.

After a long, cold, snowy winter in the Midwest, we are all happily celebrating the arrival of Spring today! What a delightful time of new beginnings! Are you ready?

Spring is nature’s way of saying,

“Let’s party!”

~ Robin Williams ~

A few decorations always make a ‘party‘ extra-special! Inside there are folk art bunnies, faux nests filled with speckled eggs, and pots of blooming shamrocks (Oxalis). My colorful, folk art birdhouse collection sits atop the mantle. On the front porch, an old zinc watering can is filled with freshly cut Forsythia branches, with hopes of forcing bright, yellow blossoms to welcome Springtime.

Just this week, a brilliant, red blossom has opened near the sunny, southern exposure of our dining room window. The small Mandevilla Vine, that bloomed all summer long on the deck has made it through the winter. I have been pinching off the tips of the fast growing vines for the past few months. Several more buds are ready to open in the days to come. The flowers are sure to add a colorful, tropical flair inside, until the weather warms up. Then the Mandevilla Vine will move back outside to the deck. It has been such fun to watch this tropical vine grow and change with the seasons.

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Lace curtains provide filtered sunlight for the Mandevilla Vine as it overwinters in our dining room.

The packets of flower seeds that jumped into my shopping cart on a frigid, snowy day last month have become a quick bunting to celebrate Spring. Until it is time to plant them in the garden in mid-May, the packets of Sweet Pea, Larkspur, Cosmos, and Zinnia seeds make me smile each time I pass them. I know what treasures they hold inside!

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I quickly gave the seed packets a ‘vintage’ look, by applying ‘Gathered Twigs’ Distress Ink with a Mini Blending Tool. Using natural hemp and Darice Mini Clothespins, the bunting was hanging up to welcome Spring in just minutes!

The real ‘party’ is going on in our perennial and herb gardens. Now the flower buds are beginning to swell on our Magnolia tree near the front porch. Each day for the past week, I have noticed small changes happening in the garden beds. It’s so exciting to watch new leaves emerge from the soil, watered so deeply by all of the melting snow.

The small moments, as our garden changes daily, are really something very big to celebrate!

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Just a little reminder of the joys of Springtime in the garden!

The early days of Spring remind gardeners to be patient and hopeful,

for very soon…

warm sunshine and gentle showers will nurture our gardens

into the lush, colorful, fragrant places of our dreams.

…..

Here in the Midwest, we are expecting snow and freezing rain on the first weekend of Spring!

“Despite the forecast, live like it’s Spring!”  

~ Lily Pulitzer ~   

Let’s Party!

♡ Dawn

              P.S.  Does it feel like Spring where you live?  How will you celebrate the change of season?

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Love Notes

Do keep reading! ♡ You’ll be surprised! {via}

Happy Valentine’s Day, friends!

It’s the perfect time to celebrate all of the sweetest things in life ~ family, friendship, and LOVE! Although these cherished relationships are special every day, it’s lovely to make celebrations of the heart a bit more tangible on Valentine’s Day!

So, I’ve been busy downstairs in the Paper Garden (my papercrafting studio) for several days making handmade Valentines. It just makes my heart happy to mail off simple, but heartfelt, tokens of affection.

There is a very special handmade Valentine for my husband, too.

His simple Valentine gift is always a challenge though. For he truly enjoys being a minimalist!

He doesn’t really want things. He doesn’t need them or collect them at all.

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I really had to be creative, but I finally came up with a plan…

LOVE NOTES! 

(Keep reading…  ♡  You’ll be surprised!)

Luckily, I found just the inspiration I needed on Bev’s blog, Flamingo Toes. A very talented seamstress, Bev used beautiful fabric to create her Love Notes Valentine’s Day Bunting. (See her complete tutorial.) What a happy idea, with so many possibilities!

I just love to hang bunting and banners throughout our home to celebrate the small moments that make each day feel like a little celebration. The past few years, I have made heart-shaped bunting for Valentine’s Day. We needed something different.

So, I thought it would be fun to recreate Bev’s idea, using patterned paper in masculine colors, for a different version of

Love Notes Bunting. 

Love Notes Bunting

The whole project came together very easily. Using an Envelope Punch Board, I created seven small envelopes.

Love Notes Bunting2

Each envelope required one 8×8 inch sheet of patterned paper, adhesive, and a vintage button for embellishment.

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Basic Supplies Used:

Tools ~ Envelope Punch Board (or just steam open an envelope to make a template), bone folder

Paper ~ Recollections patterned paper

Adhesive ~ Tombow Mono Multi to create the envelopes, Zots to adhere the buttons

Vintage Buttons from my collection, Natural Hemp to string the bunting

♥♥♥

My Valentine surprise is tucked inside of each envelope in the bunting…

Each contains a small, decorated card with the title of a song!

My real gift is

♫♬  Love Notes  ♬♫  

(favorite love songs that remind me of us!)

♥♥♥

There is a surprise You Tube playlist filled with songs (with lyrics) that tell our story!

(It’s waiting on his computer right now.)

♥♥♥

I’m sure there will be lots of singing-along! Maybe some dancing, too!

♫♬   LOVE NOTES  ♬♫

Just a simple gift of the heart.

♥♥♥

For all of my blog friends that I don’t know personally,

I love to share our happy story!

We were introduced by a dear, mutual friend

and met in our later years.

It was a first-time marriage for both of us.

It was such a happy wedding day!

I think we will be ‘newlyweds’ forever!

♥♥♥

Whether your Valentine’s Day is a romantic celebration, a day of family fun,

time spent with friends, or toasting the single life…

I hope you feel adored, appreciated, and your heart is filled with love.

Love is all around us… and life is filled with wonderful surprises! ♡

♥♥♥

Thanks for being here! I LOVE it when you stop by to visit!

Valentine hugs!

♡ Dawn

                P.S.  Do you have a special Valentine’s Day memory or tradition to share? Or a song that tells your story? We’d LOVE to hear about it!

A New ‘Garden’ Season!

Our 'Autumn' Blaze Red Maple reflects the beauty of each Autumn day!

Our ‘Autumn Blaze’ Red Maple reflects the beauty of each October day!

Hi Friends!

Change is in the air in our Midwest garden! Our chilly nighttime temperatures, shorter daylight hours, and brilliant Autumn colors are poignant reminders that a new ‘garden’ season is just around the corner. Now the precious hours spent gardening in the warmth of an Autumn afternoon seem ever so fleeting!

Although the garden colors are fading quickly now, there are still some lovely reminders of our colorful Summer days. Bright pink Cosmos blossoms still dance in the breeze in our old-fashioned Cutting Garden.

These Cosmos grew from special seeds from Rheinstetten, Germany. A gift of friendship from a faraway friend!

These Cosmos grew from seeds sent from Rheinstetten, Germany. What a lovely gift of friendship from a faraway friend!

There was a surprise discovery this week in our Autumn garden! Finding a blossom from an early Spring Anemone, blooming beside a fallen Autumn leaf, made my heart leap! Oh, the small thrills that make a gardener’s heart dance with delight. Surely, you can understand…

A brave Anenome, that typically blooms in May and June, is blooming in our garden this October!

A brave Anemone, that typically blooms in May and June, is blooming in our garden this October!

 

Brilliant leaves twirl down creating a colorful in a colorful dance on a Autumn breeze.

Brilliant leaves twirl down creating a colorful dance on an Autumn breeze.

After gazing upward, again and again, to enjoy the glorious colors overhead, it was time to begin a few gardenkeeping tasks today. With my favorite herb snips in hand, I headed through the garden gate to begin harvesting bundles of herbs to dry for our kitchen this winter.

Oh, the delights that greet us as we step through the gate of our Herb and Tea Garden!

Oh, the delights that greet us as we step through the gate of our Herb and Tea Garden!

It’s such fun to snip sprigs of Rosemary, Sage, Marjoram, Oregano, and Thyme gathering each bundle tightly with a small rubber band. Thoughts of winter soups and Thanksgiving stuffing come to mind at harvest time. Our dried herbs will flavor so many meals in the coming months.

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The small bundles of herbs will hang to dry in our cool, dark basement until they are ready to use in the kitchen.

Harvesting Hydrangeas is always one of my special joys. In October, we usually have so many lovely, mauve-colored Hydrangeas to dry ~ enough to fill many baskets, crocks, and stoneware pitchers for a gorgeous ‘winter garden’ inside. Sadly, last winter’s long, severe cold and snow cover in the Midwest meant no flowers at all on most of our mophead Hydrangeas! It was the first time that there were no buds, only large, healthy leaves on the Hydrangeas growing near our front porch. Garden bloggers in many areas reported the same disappointment in their gardens this summer.

Just one small basket of Hydrangeas, mostly of the lacecap variety, was harvested with great care. Each blossom seemed more precious than ever before! I will truly miss having dried bouquets of my favorite, old-fashioned flowers nearby while sipping tea, reading, and watching the snowflakes fall outside the window all winter long! Nature has taught me that nothing is certain in the garden. Over the years, I have learned a great deal about the importance of patience… and hope!

There were only a few blooms on our Hydrangeas this season.

There were very few blooms on our Hydrangeas this season.

Harvest time has just begun! Herbs and Hydrangeas are hanging to dry in the basement.

Harvest time has just begun! Some herbs and Hydrangeas are already hanging in the basement to dry.

This week, we had our first frost and the garden is preparing to rest. My favorite Rosemary plant has already been brought in from the Herb Garden and is happily growing in a large pot in our sunny dining room. Its heavenly scent will remind me of summer days in the garden through the coldest of winter days. A gorgeous Mandevilla plant that bloomed all summer on our deck is now blooming in the dining room, adjusting to the sunny, southern exposure. It will be so nice to enjoy this colorful souvenir of summertime in the weeks to come!

This is always the time when a gardener reflects on the past season and looks ahead to next year’s garden. As a garden blogger, there will be new gardening hopes, dreams, and plans to share. Travels to the sunny Southwest will bring some lovely desert gardens to our blog. I look forward to sharing some favorite gardens I’ve visited on past European adventures, too. What fun to remember beautiful castle gardens while our Midwest cottage garden rests!

Yes, the garden is changing…

Colorful Maple leaves grace the birdbath on a sunny Autumn day.

Colorful Maple leaves grace the birdbath on a sunny Autumn day.

… and a new garden season is just beginning here!!

I’m looking forward to sharing another favorite passion of mine in the coming months! A long-time dream of mine has just come true. I have set up a Studio space in our basement where I can create (and be messy!). It’s a wonderful place to spread out and enjoy making cards, scrapbooking, watercoloring, and to begin experimenting with new techniques in a mixed media art journal.

It will be such fun to sow new seeds of inspiration, water them with passion, and encourage new skills to grow and blossom!

Hope you will enjoy visits to my ‘Paper Garden,’ too…

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Now I can spend my days in the ‘garden’ all winter long! ♡

Banners and bunting celebrate my passion for paper!

Colors, patterns, and texture make my heart sing.

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It was such fun to create a banner for my new Studio space!

For my papercrafting friends:  First I die cut banners using SU ‘Banners’ Framelits and embossed the Bazzill ‘Forget Me Not’ cardstock with the Embossalicious ‘Flowers’ EF. I layered K&Company Floral Tags, embossed with the Cuttlebug ‘Birds and Swirls’ EF. Next I die cut Spellbinders ‘Scalloped Ovals’ on SU ‘Very Vanilla’ cardstock and embossed them with the SU Sizzix ‘Flowers’ EF. Then I added letters die cut with SU ‘Little Letters’ Thinlets on The Paper Company ‘Chocolate Truffle’ cardstock. Finally, I used SU dimensionals to add the sentiment and strung the banner with natural polished hemp.

It’s such a treat to spend time in my ‘Paper Garden’…  now that my perennial and herb gardens are slowing down.

I’m ever so grateful that YOU are here visiting! I truly appreciate the time you spend here at Petals.Paper.Simple Thymes!

For me, spending time with Kindred Spirits is always such a joy!

Come visit again soon…

Autumn blessings, sweet friends!

♡Dawn

P.S.  Are there special hobbies that you enjoy during the winter months? Or do you continue the same passions year round?