Monday, March 24, 2008

I've been working on this off and on for the last year, but I've been thinking about making this cushion for almost ten years.

This is the Shell Cushion, designed in 1925 by Vanessa Bell. The original can be found in the Garden Room of the Charleston Farmhouse in Sussex, the country retreat of Vanessa and Clive Bell and the gathering spot for their friends, the group of artists and writers known as the "Bloomsbury Group." (This is also the spot where designer Kaffe Fassett did the photo shoot for his most recent book.)

The pattern was reproduced by Melinda Coss in her (now out-of-print) book Bloomsbury Needlepoint. Although the cushion is now faded, Coss was able to take the cushion apart to find the original bold color scheme. I've tried my best to follow that color scheme using Appleton Crewel wool and a 12-mesh canvas. The only detail I omitted was the red criss-cross on the yellow centers of the orange blossoms.

What next, a cushion patterned after William Morris design? The Abstract-Patterned cushion from Charleston? I can't decide.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Blizzard of 2008

The snow is melting away now but last week's blizzard broke records. To spite the frozen tempest outside, the Clivia bloomed even harder and it still looking spectacular after nearly two weeks of blossom. The second plant should be opening its blooms in the next few days.

The twenty inches of snow that fell here in central Ohio still can't dissuade me from my obsession with the coming spring. Things have gotten quite out of hand here with seeds and sprouts. So far we've got broccoli, tomatoes, lots of different kind of herbs, and a few flowers (monarda and calendula). The salpiglossis seedlings are looking a bit peaky, tho', and I'm wondering if they're going to make it. The picture on the seed package was so pretty and it said they were easy to grow but this is the second year I've tried and I'm still not impressed. Better to stick with zinnia, cosmos, and marigolds?

When I was a kid I remember one of our neighbors had a big porcelain claw foot tub outside next to the house. It was filled with dirt and they planted things in it. In the years since I've seen these tubs turned on their ends in the garden and used to create small grottos to house statues of the Virgin Mary. So, you can see why the idea of using a bathtub for things other than bathing might have occurred more readily to me.

And don't worry, we do have a shower stall.