Tuesday, May 19, 2015

HAVE YOUR CAKES, AND EAT THEM TOO!

They say it's your birthday...
I hope you get LOTS of cake (these were at the Bellagio a few weeks back) - enough to make you sick if you want - at 81 years old, you deserve as much cake as you can stand, and then some!  I'll be there in four, and we'll eat some more!
For all the goofy things I've ever made you do (like going into a strange building in the middle of hippie central to find an amazing carousel, or dragging up and down ALL those stairs at Red Rocks to fill in for Mom) - why, even those things 60 miles away...
Like Acoma - I love you more than you will ever know (just like I love this picture of you two)!
Happy Birthday, Dad - I wanted this post to be on here earlier, but spent the day wrestling (figuratively) with this stupid computer.  See, it's not just you who has issues with electronics!
And MORE cake, because I missed a Mother's Day, Post...to a Mom a lot of girls WISH they had.  I know your day was wonderful.  We might just have a belated cake for that TOO, when I get home. For right now though, these are "empty" calories so enjoy!
Quite a pair - the two of 'em have been at it almost 59 years this year...wife, MOTHER, friend.  I love you to the moon and back - and this would be the best parting shot I could leave you with, Mom - sorry it is so late, but the thought was there...
Love you both - see you soon!  XOXO

Thursday, May 14, 2015

DUCHESS WRAP - My "Nighttime, Take a Break, Sit-on the Couch, and Rest Your Back" Medicine...

I hate when I go silent on here for too long.  I've had a good excuse in that I've been painting and re-doing a room, but I owe my Mom a Mother's Day post, in the very least.  Freshly painted walls make a great backdrop for the project I finished up last night - my evening "therapy sessions" where I rest my back in preparation for more painting shenanigans.  This is the Duchess Wrap from the new "Dress-to-Impress Knitted Scarves" book.
I won't bore the non-knitters with the details - for those who want to know, comment here or email me direct.  I did do change-ups (actually they are simple, and only encompass the first three rows) on the pattern at the beginning to rectify buttonhole and needle size/gauge issues I had with the pattern - I'm more than happy to share what I did.  I used ten 3/4" antique buttons - five of them are Victorian age "twinkle buttons", with mirrors behind the pierced metal.  My "go-to source" for all of these is a sweet local friend who deals in antique/vintage buttons, as well as antiques, period. Want her contact information?  I'll gladly provide that, as well!
Cooler weather can't come soon enough now - especially for those of us in the desert that are heading into soaring Summer temps already.  There's a winter coat in a closet back home in CO that this is going to look fabulous on...
In the meantime, it's seems to feel "right" on my old (not really - it's vintage Chico's) long, paisley Janis Joplinesque coat, with the faux fur collar and cuffs.  The mannequin never looked so groovy!  Happy Thursday - looking forward to being done with the paintbrush for awhile!

Sunday, May 3, 2015

A FINAL STROLL THROUGH THE GARDEN...

Parting shots from the Ethel M Cactus Garden, as our Spring winds down and we head into Summer - always a good sign, honeybees!


Various paddle cactus - I can tell you the one on the right is a Cow's Tongue Cactus.


For loved ones in CO, something you'll rarely see - a lizard crossing Rabbit Ears Pass.  Bottom left is a Fire Stick Cactus.
Ocotillo in full bloom on the left.  The cactus on the right was "in the pink" and bare, all within a week's time.

This grand old sentinel of the garden seems to be saluting the end of the desert bloom.  Here's hoping your May is already bringing the blooms promised by those April showers (and snowstorms), and that your own colorful display is starting as ours is ending.

Thursday, April 30, 2015

OF BLOOMS AND BIRDS...MORE DESERT GARDEN BEAUTY

I know - looks tropical, huh?  I spied two MASSIVE white blooms truly hidden in the garden.  Off the beaten path, and probably missed by most...my mind was wandering as I was walking across the parking lot, and caught these out of the corner of my eye, in a remote section.  This was, no exaggeration, the size of a salad plate.
As near as I can find out (there was no one available to ask on Sunday), this is called an Easter Lily Cactus.  I couldn't get near to it, so these were all zoomed as far as my camera would let me.  It sat at the base of a much more imposing cactus - I went back two days later, and the bottom right was all that was left of the bloom.  Things "come and go so quickly here"...I'm sure a lot of people missed this one!

The yellows are predominant in the garden now, with most of the pink and orange blooms having already made their showing.


And THIS guy...lounging atop a Purple Cloud Ranger, as I drove into the parking lot.  Tried to get the shot through the car window, so as not to disturb him...too dark.  Actually got out of my car - I was evidently a non-threat to him, as all I got was this "look" and a few shots before leaving him in peace.  No nest - just laying on the bush!
The birds ADORE these gardens...it's a cheerfully noisy place to walk through.
Even the areas that aren't heavily laden with blooms are beautiful - just a smattering of soft purple against all these sharp spines is a show stopper.  The barrel cactus are spectacular, if not menacing at the same time.  Happy Thursday - off to paint some walls...

Monday, April 27, 2015

A WEEK OF DESERT BLOOMS...

Short on verbiage this week, but long on beauty.  An entire week of blooming cacti from the Vegas Valley.  The photos here were "enhanced" (because I was in a "pick-me-up" mood), but the blooms are really as bright as you think.  And, that cactus above is really purple - a Purple Pancake Cactus, to be exact.  The blooms are short lived, but always spectacular...all photos were taken the past three weeks at Ethel M's Cactus Garden, here in Henderson, NV.  The reds and brilliant oranges are the first to come and go every spring and were missed this year, but the rest have been mighty impressive.
And darting around the blooms on one particular plant yesterday, was this little guy - SO fast - SO bright.
He stayed long enough to drink his fill, allowing for some hastily snapped shots... 
Do you know how hard it is to follow a darting hummingbird with a camera and snap before he moves again?!  And then he was gone.


Happy Monday - back tomorrow with a little more Spring in my step! 

Thursday, April 16, 2015

CHERRY BLOSSOM TIME at the BELLAGIO CONSERVATORY AND BOTANICAL GARDENS, Las Vegas, NV

For those who can't make it to Vegas before May 1st (when the Summer Display goes up...yes, SUMMER - SHUDDER!!!!!), you're in for a treat.  I, the desert dweller who can't grow a thing in the "non-soil" that is Las Vegas (not that I could grown anything if I had REAL soil, either), grab my camera on a quarterly basis and "live vicariously" through the Bellagio Conservatory and Botanical Gardens .  This Spring they are celebrating the beloved Cherry Blossoms.  It is stunning, to say the least!
Over 82,000 flowers and 75 Koi fish in this gorgeousness, in addition to the non-growing display pieces.  This 18' Spring Cherry Blossom Tree was handmade for the display, taking 1,500 hours to complete.  The 3,000 lb. tree base/limbs house 300 acrylic flowers and leaves in the 20' canopy.
The 10' X 12' Japanese Tea House and surrounding gardens.  From one of the signs posted amongst the flowers, "...the tea house and gardens serve as utensils to "awaken" consciousness and to realize with humility our relationship with our surroundings and with the universe itself".
6' tall with a 6' wingspan, the beautiful crane has 1,400 cut flowers and 200 feathers.  As always with these displays, the flowers are removed on a daily basis, as they wilt and die.
Lilies and hyacinths - heavy sigh.  Those pale peach hyacinths on the bottom were "smelling up" the entire area they were in, in the most HEAVENLY of ways.  I had to drag myself away, and kept finding myself creeping back just to sniff!  It was like someone laid down an entire bottle of the most wonderful perfume.
The 26" tall Japanese Temple was inspired by Kyoto's Golden Temple.  The gold veneer doors feature wood frames with traditional rice paper Shoji screens.
There were two of these gorgeous trees in the display.  Note the raked sands/pebbles in the gardens...attention to detail is the name of the game with these gardeners.
ENORMOUS hangings of Bougainvillea and Wisteria vines from Bamboo framework.  THESE were SOOO cool!
And ALWAYS at least one Bride and Groom taking advantage of the gardens for the perfect photo op.
16' Tsukubai waterfall, emptying into a tranquil pond below.  A symbolic and "abstract" representation of Mt. Fuji rests in a bed of tulips next to the pond.  Mt. Fuji is the 35th most prominent peak in the world, rising 12,388 ft.
More shots of the splendor...including the turtle...
This happy guy is comprised of approximately 1,200 cut flowers.  Each topiary has a metal frame, holding foam in place, which is then sculpted around to create these amazing, happy pieces.
Daffodils, as far as you could see - well, not that far, but this was a huge bed, and sat behind those gorgeous, "smelly" peach colored hyacinths.  With all the beautiful things going on, this might have been my favorite spot of the whole display, just because of the colors and the fragrance!
And parasols...thirty-five of them, all hand painted.  If you live here, get down to the Bellagio quick, before it's gone.  If you're travelling through, make sure you stop in.  If you can't make it at all, I'm glad I went for you...and me!  Happy Spring, everyone!