December 12, 2014

Winter Containers 2014

Phew, in the midst of all that is Christmas retail, my computer crashed......dead.......kaput

So most of you have no doubt decorated your outdoors already, if not I hope you find some inspiration from our clients exteriors, or, your home is like mine....yet to start

My absolute favorite is creating winter containers. When I leave they are at their peak, no waiting for growth, no watering & fertilizing, viola!
I do recommend however a mild misting of water throughout the season as bright sun and wind can turn them brownish. Before we depart, everything is heavily sprayed with an Anti-Dessicant, a product that holds in the moisture and maintains freshness
The addition of faux fruit lends a colonial/ Williamsburg design
Your choice of elements should include something that relates to it's environment, in this case the painted birch enhances the nearby arbor
A dark and dreary day did not make for excellent photo opportunities. In actuality, this center drive planter with base is 4' tall with a diameter of 3'
The blue toned pods in the upper right of this image is seeded bell eucalyptus. Remember to use these outdoors only. Recently I went to a friends home whom rushed me in immediately, "Do you smell animal waste on here?!" Yes, cat urine in particular I replied.......take the seeded bell euc outdoors.....immediately......

Another detail to consider is utilizing MANY different types of greens; short or long needle, varying colored greens, drapey, upright, leaved (boxwood or oregonia)
A close up of my favorite discovery for this season; real alder cones with a chalky blue tone adhered to faux stems.......gorgeous!!
Need height only? My favorites are the spruce topper as shown above or red twig dogwood below, encased in double wreaths of boxwood. EASY and both will last all winter long
Clipping nearby ornamental grasses to insert connects the planter to the landscape
Not everything should be red and Christmasy, a subtle/winter look can be attractive. Here too I incorporated ornamental grasses nearby, the dangly alder cones and feathers
Don't forget your wall baskets and window boxes!

All berry stems shown; red and chartreuse, are faux. These good quality, hard plastic faux's look real, particularly when nestled within the greens. PLUS, they will never turn black and can be reused year after year

The addition of sparkle with glittered grapevine balls on sticks. On a sunny day, or near outdoor lighting in the evening, they sparkle magnificently. When they begin to fade, break or cut the sticks, if frozen in
Variegated oregonia, seeded eucalyptus, silver fir, spruce and faux chartreuse berries
This arrangement includes outdoor ball ornaments on sticks 
Absolutely LOVE to add concrete statuary creating a strong focal point. This time of year cherubs are ideal
Why stop with just the containers? In this instance we inserted a multitude of yellow twig dogwood for an all winter exclamation point of interest, red twig or white painted are additional options
Garlands and wreaths......
These wonderful concrete balustrades we added to enhance a walkway on both sides, called for a welcoming touch
Mailbox? Prime for decorating. A flat out no to the stiff "velvet" bows sold everywhere! We use real velvet, it will last as long as you need it through the season
This stunning ribbon has a green silk underside. The tails are knotted, unevenly as they lay better 
Lamp posts? 
How about indoors? Not as long lasting as all faux, but the smells, the colors and natural elements increases your opportunities to decorate.

The rush is on......enjoy!


December 1, 2014

Dee Gann's Santa's

Local artisan, Dee Gann, is the magic behind her fanciful Santa's. My shop, Scentimental Gardens, aka SG Geneva, is the fortunate recipient to present her vintage inspired heirlooms
Every face is handcrafted by Dee, the beard, accruements, the costume.........scattered among antique elements sourced and collected for over 25 years

Asking Dee if I could visit her workshop, a total of three rooms, and interview her was a treat for me. You can only imagine how my face lit up when I entered one of the rooms, akin to discovering Geppetto's workshop.
Imagine a niche career that one can do from home setting your own hours, having fun amassing a collection,  antiquing for vintage furs, costumes and miniatures, culminating in squeals of joy brought to others!
Meet Dee, enjoy her story and photo's (mostly poor ongoing issue)
My Dad owned an antique shop and as a child I watched him turn others "trash" into treasures, antiquing is in my blood. 

I started doing craft shows at our local mall 30 years ago. The Christmas shows were always the best, so I eventually gravitated towards Santa's. A friend came by and saw my first Santa then encouraged me to pursue this adventure. When I see those early versions I want to die of embarrasement!

Being self taught, I spent a lot of time in libraries studying Santa's from Old World countries, folklore and customs. Extensive research on clays and compositions with much trial and error to follow.

Sheep's wool is now sourced from all over the world to craft my beards

My inspiration comes from worn velvets, metal trims, actually any fabric or trim that reveals a long ago life.
(Dee asked that I include a call out for victorian ladies waist coats, getting very hard to find)

I knew this was my destiny when I received a call from Better Homes & Gardens in 1990. They wanted to feature a profile on me! The first thing she said was, "We received your letter and your timing was perfect." Little did she know that when I mailed that letter I silently prayed, "Lord, please let my timing be right."
I knew then that I had God's blessing and that has made me feel that my job holds a certain responsibility.

Yes, she makes these faces too
And she makes all the clothing and SHOES!
After several features in BHG, my business grew in a hurry! From that 
I received offers and worked with four companies who reproduced my work


Walking through this room housing her collection of finds, and fabrics was magical for me. Dee, you could have left me here for days on end exploring......

My business card says "Find the child within you, and you shall dance to the joys around you" 
What I love best about my career are the sweet compliments from people about the joy I brought them or how certain embellishments provoked a long ago special memory
Hope you can come by the shop and visit, we are filled with the best of Dee's collection, all originals.
Too far to visit? Drop me a line, we can send photo's

                                                     Have a joy filled December!

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