Saturday, October 22, 2011

These Are A Few of My Favorite Things . . .

I'm a little late starting my Halloween decorating; every year, my dining room table gets virtually taken over by Halloween items I've collected over the years. I finished this year's display tonight; here are some photos of a few of my figurines (although I'm hard-pressed to identify a favorite; they all have personality)!

What doesn't say Halloween like a cat popping out of a pumpkin's eye? OK, so this one probably wins.
 See that little Pumpkin Head on the Block with the heart on it to the right of the cat in the middle picture? That was made by my good friend (and awesome artist) Sandy Mastroni. Visit her blog at: or her etsy store at:
One of Sandy's holiday snowman-themed creations is prominently featured in Better Homes & Gardens Holiday Crafts Magazine on newsstands now, so check it out!

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Hallow'een Greetings

 OK, it's no surprise to people who know me that Halloween is my favorite holiday. Maybe it's the cats (ya think?), maybe it's the pumpkins and gourds, maybe it's just the fabulous colors (I'm a big fan of orange in particular) but I LOVE this holiday. I am totally inspired by the images associated with Halloween, especially the vintage ones. Here's a little vignette I created  . . . an image of my front steps. Speaking of Halloween, we're hoping to get to go to The Great Jack O'Lantern Blaze in Sleepy Hollow NY this season:
We've been told it's really spectacular . . .

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Autumn Garden Takes Shape . . .

We've finally had a stretch of beautiful sun-filled days, albeit with temperatures above normal for the area. As much as I like the cool temps this time of year, I'll take these warm days as well. I had a few days off work, so I was able to do some planting of bareroot plants (Orange Slice Oriental Poppies and Wild Blue Baptisia). Unfortunately, the poppies came mis-labeled; the instructions said to plant with the crown just above the soil line; I had heard you need to plant poppies deeply for success. A call to the nursery proved me right; but I had to dig up my roots and re-plant them. I'll know in the Spring if this was successful or not. A good lesson not to doubt your instincts!
Plants doing well in the garden at the moment are the Bishop of Llandaff dahlias,  which are bursting with flowers now, compared to just a few weeks ago.  I love the contrast between the dark green leaves and the bright red flowers:
 The few garden mums I have scattered around the yard are also in fine form; I kind of like them in their more natural form,  rather than the rounded pots you see at all the nurseries this time of year (although these started out in just that way some year's back):
 And finally, in the vegetable garden, the nasturtiums are just about taking over the raised beds. They were doing well throughout the summer, but with slow and steady growth; as soon as the days started to cool down, they took off. The flowers will make nice additions to our late-season salads:
This is a busy time of year for the gardener; but an enjoyable one. A time to clean up the beds and prepare them for the coming winter; and also to assess what worked and didn't work. I've already decided I have a Harry Lauder's Walking Stick (Corylus Contorta) that will need to be moved in the Spring (it's already about six feet tall and wide). I may need the heavy equipment for that one, so it should make an interesting blog entry when the time comes! Stay tuned for more gardening adventures . . .

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Stratford Fall Festival 2011

The 6th annual Stratford Fall Festival and Dog Walk was held today; the weather was fabulous (pushing 80 degrees!) and the crowds came out to celebrate with us for a good cause - to benefit the homeless animals in town. It was nice to see my drawing on the finished T-shirts; unfortunately the dog represented couldn't attend today's event due to an injury recently sustained. Get well, Trixie!
 I was having a good time drawing quick watercolor sketches of the (four-legged) attendees, and Bill was in fine form as usual, running the caricature side of the tent - drawing both dogs and people, including a three-legged dog, who was adorable, and quite a little spitfire I might add)! Here he is just beginning a drawing of a cute little boy . . .

It's a pleasure to be able to take part in this event, and for such a good cause. Next year promises to be better than ever; it's grown so much that there's talk of moving the festival to an even bigger venue (Boothe Park) to accommodate all of the dogs and people from the surrounding communities who love to come and play every October in Stratford.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Rain, Rain Go Away!

Once again, it's raining today. After a brief respite this past weekend, we are inundated tonight with more rain. The Northeast has been absolutely soaked over the past few months; my garden started out lush, and is now quickly turning to mush. Moldy, musty mums, fungus-ridden leaves on the trees. It's been a tough summer in the garden. Depressing. Where are those cool, CRISP days of fall? The bright blue skies, the crunch of leaves underfoot?

While the weather held out this past Sunday, we took a nice little road trip up to Jones Family Farm in Shelton CT:
This is one of the most beautiful pieces of farmland left in CT; they boast a top-notch winery, pick-your-own fields and a huge pumpkin patch (Pumpkinseed Hill Farm) with vistas that overlook much of Fairfield County. It was pretty spectacular, and the leaves haven't even started turning yet! We'll definitely make a trip back there in the coming weeks . . .

Here's just a small sampling of the huge varieties of pumpkins and gourds available for both eating and decorating. The pumpkin patch, with hayrides and a corn maze, is open through Oct. 31st.