Monday, June 20, 2016

New Digital Collage. . .

Hello Dear Friends!
I hope your weekend was a nice one!  We have spent a great deal of it on our porch, eating meals there, reading, even doing projects!

I have been working on several projects recently and one of them is this new digital collage:

(As always, you can click on the image in order
to see it larger.)

This one is called "The Guest at the Wedding".

I made it from several images from the public domain collection of
The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam.

I don't always know where my inspiration comes from, but sometimes a new project idea will form from lots of things I've been seeing, thinking about, experiencing, etc.  I started following The Woodrow Wilson House in Washington on Instagram (Mr. V and I got married there) and there was a picture of the music room and the gorgeous rich wall tapestry in that room.  If it had rained the night of our wedding, it's the room we would have been married in, instead of the beautiful, lush garden.  (We would have had the reception in the Presidential Dining Room, which is gorgeous, but not nearly as grand as it sounds.  You can't have an event of more than 36 people there, if you wish them to be seated.)  The colors of my collage and the scale of the background make me think of that beautiful tapestry.

As for the fruit sitting next to the wedding guest, I think I was inspired by one of my favorite paintings "El Jaleo" by John Singer Sargent.  It is one of the major pieces in the collection of the Isabella Stewart Gardener Museum in Boston.  In this painting, a flamenco dancer whirls across a darkened stage, in front of a row of chairs, where the musicians are sitting.  If you look carefully, you can see there is an orange sitting on one of the empty chairs and that has always been one of my favorite details of this painting.

And, as always, seeing the beautiful images at The Rijksmuseum inspire me!  How wonderful it would be to visit there someday and see some of the works in person!  As you look through their online collection, you can make up your own collection to look at or use in projects later.  Here's mine.  Thanks, as always, to The Rijksmuseum for making so many of their wonderful works available to use for art projects!

Keep checking back, as there are more projects in the works in the world of The Tearoom this summer!

Sunday, June 5, 2016


Greetings to you again, Dearest Friends of The Tearoom!
I hope you are enjoying your early summer so far!  It is my very favorite time of the year and I spend many days, house-bound due to snow and ice, dreaming of my wonderful warm days on the porch.  Today, I bring you some cheerful pictures and memories of summertimes, past and present.

My current project is repurposing some of my old clothing into some new summer dresses and accessories for The Doll Family.  As I do this, I am flooded with memories as I deconstruct the dresses and blouses I wore on some of the hottest, most sultry, happiest days of my life during summertimes spent in Washington, DC.  As many of you know, I lived there for 15 years and so I spent 15 summers, sitting in front of fans, keeping cool by wearing linen dresses to work each day, walking home under verdant canopies of trees, past little gardens and brownstones, changing into shorts and tank tops in the evenings, making only cold meals from May 1 until sometime in October (I couldn't even think of turning on the stove in those months!) and generally just enjoying the wonderful weather and frequently jarring thunderstorms and downpours of rain!  The sound of the traffic outside my kitchen window as I made dinner and the metallic rattle of the cicadas made me happy!

Many nights, after dinner, I would take walks in Dupont Circle, my neighborhood.  I would walk to the fountain at Dupont Circle and sit on the marble edge, cooling in the summer breeze blowing the spray on my back, watched over by the three art deco marble figures which make up the base of the fountain.  Poets performing spoken word poetry or men who played the drums on stacks of plastic food buckets were common entertainment here.  Leaving the circle where the fountain is located in a small green park, I would wander into Kramerbooks, my neighborhood book store and browse.  I could stop by my favorite Starbucks (there are 5 in the neighborhood!), visit with friends and former co-workers, get a drink and keep walking.  If I didn't feel like cooking, I could go to Teaism, a lovely pan-Asian tearoom, get a bento box and an iced tea or ginger limeade and sit in their tiny garden and eat, surrounded by tall, flame-colored cannas.  Your dinner there is only complete if you get a big salty oat cookie and munch on it while continuing on your stroll around the neighborhood.

Summers are different now.  We jealously covet the few hot, and even warm, days we have.  We cherish a few lush green days spent on the porch, knowing we will have 3 times the number of days in the year that we won't even want to go outside.  We spend entire days, sitting in our Adirondack chairs, eating meals, reading, working on art projects, watching the hummingbirds fight over the feeders.  There are no cicadas (which delights Mr. V no end, but causes me great pangs of homesickness for DC) and the bird sounds, though they fill the air, are different here.  Instead of the mockingbirds, which mimic the car alarms in the city, the catbirds here chatter away with snippets of song, punctuated with "meow" in between, chirps, beeps and cackles.

Returning to our here and now, here are some pictures from our little garden porch from the last couple of weeks.  As always, please click the images in order to see them larger.

The beginnings of my little garden...a tomato seedling
and my old dolls teacups I used to soak morning glory and
nasturtium seeds.

A tiny memorial garden I planted to remember
my dear friend Cardie, one of my
Starbucks Family.
I know he sees it from where he is now.

A sunny morning on my porch.

Here are three members of my Doll Family,
wearing clothes I made for them!
On the left is Hyacinthe, the newest
member of the family, sent to live with us
from Liz, a new friend on Twitter!
And of course, if you are a Friend of The Tearoom,
you already know Thursday and Baby Hoobert!

Hyacinthe sitting in front of the pansies.

I made her drop waist 1930's-inspired dress
from one of my linen dresses.
The collar is made from an old blouse,
which I stained with tea.
The dress is accented with ecru satin ribbon
and my signature mismatched buttons,
from my vintage button collection.

I found some shoes to fit her from an Etsy
seller.  I love their butter color with the lilac
and ecru colors of her dress.  I added more
vintage buttons to coordinate.

Here is Thursday,
wearing a sheath dress I made from another
of my favorite linen dresses from my
summers in Washington.
The dress was made from a flowered fabric
and I appliquéd flowers from a blouse I had
in the same pattern, only in a cream color.
Mismatched vintage buttons, 
vintage black shoes from Etsy and a jaunty
bow make her outfit complete.

And this is Baby Hoobert,
enjoying watching the birds on the porch!

He's wearing a romper I made for him from
some striped taffeta I found in my mother's
fabric stash.  I used some dark red vintage
buttons, which look like cherry candy to me!

Oh! A flower has his attention now!

A sweet baby.

A typical boy, he decided the dirt in the pot
was more interesting than the flowers!
Hoobert!  Quit that!!

We all hope you are having a beautiful day,
wherever you are!

Lots of fun projects coming up for me, so keep checking back often for more summer fun,
here at The Gossamer Tearoom!