Hopalong Hollow....

Hopalong Hollow, where the Blueberries grow sweet, and the moss feels soft beneath your feet.

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Merry month of May in the Frontyard Garden

May truly is the Merry Month! 
This is proven to me every time I walk out into the garden, greeted by the newest gathering of wee sprouts, abundant rose blooms and primrose and the unfurling leaves of the Hosta.
The expanse of garden here in the front yard, began as a small corner of plants surrounded by lawn.

As the years went by, the garden grew and grew to the point where the lawn was "no longer".
.This is a Cottage garden, it is chock full of a tremendous variety of native plants, wildflowers, roses, perennials and annual seeds. It will take on a new look every few weeks, as some plants fade and die back and others come into full glory and height.
 Half of the garden lay in full sun, the other have in full shade... it is a tricky feat to make things work out properly.
 The long stone wall containing the Garden from the backside (actually, this would be the front side since it faces the road) is anchored by my picket fence corners on either end, which are connected by a long piece of Cattle panel.  The cattle panel fencing serves as a trellis for climbing roses and honeysuckle and a support for tall plants like Hollyhocks and Joe Pye.
In front of this stone bed, runs a stream, which travels the full length of the property, you can just make out our VERY OLD wooden bridge in the picture below.

 

Stones are a huge part of all the Hopalong Hollowscaping around here.. 
I never purchased a stone, but I have dug them, dragged,hauled them and planted them in every single garden bed.
 I worked for about 2 days cleaning out all the miscellaneous plantings in the raised stone bed...it was a messy conglomeration of too many plants. I removed all but the Daffodils and planted 10 small size Hostas all in a row, and a border of liriope which will only get about 10" tall. I don't like to hide this stone wall behind plants... We worked too hard to gather these rocks and put up this wall.
 There are 9 distinct gardens here in Hopalong Hollow...
 Hope you don't mind seeing all of them before the season is over!


Chicken wire is ALL IMPORTANT around here.... my chickens like to garden in all the wrong places! The wire will be removed once the plants take hold.

Saturday, May 6, 2017

Little Sewing Machine

 When I was just a small child, my mother had a sewing machine which fascinated me. She would allow me to sift through the box of attachments that were contained in a compartment inside the sewing machine box. I would sit at her feet going through her box of buttons while the sewing machine whirred and hummed as she created curtains, aprons and pillow cases on the pretty little black machine with gold lettering and scroll work
and a decorative embossed medallion that I loved to touch.
 
The machine was a Singer Featherweight, her model was from the 1950's. I later learned to sew on that machine. I stitched most of my own clothing designs in high school and used the little Singer until I flew the nest. I don't know whatever happened to the machine that was a part of my childhood, but have longed to own one ever since.
Because of a very dear friend, I now have my own 1951 Singer Featherweight Machine.
We happily "traded"; I got this marvelous little machine, and she got one of my Hopalong Hollow Folk. 
I think I got the better half of the barter and she thinks she did.... so we are both pleased.
 Her husband serviced, oiled and cleaned up the little hummer and it sews like a dream.
 I looked up this model after a reader commented that THIS machine was a Centennial model, celebrating 100 yrs of Singer. My research  found, that in 1951, the machine cost $149.50.
 
 This machine is so small, it actually looks like a toy or a child's sewing machine, but it was one of the most popular machines Singer ever produced, from 1933 through 1968.
It looks delicate, but it is a real workhorse!
 I don't  know of a quilter or serious stitcher who doesn't own at least one  Featherweight, or is at  least aware of them.

I'd been using my 1898 Red EYE Singer to sew my critters and their frocks for the last few years. I love it, but it has no light, no reverse and is SO HEAVY to carry I am forced to stay in the studio to sew. 
  I don't want to stay in the studio to sew.... I like to work in the kitchen. I can carry the Featherweight to any room I like!
 Look at the difference in size! I told you it looks like a toy. 

The Lord of the Manor just couldn't believe anything worthwhile could actually be sewn with such a miniature piece of equipment....
 But I showed him a thing or two....or three.

  Thank you dear Deborah for the trade, love you!

 To learn more about the history of the Singer Featherweight visit this site:

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

New Rabbits .....

Mr Twigs Halifax is knowledgeable in the field of bees and fungi. It seems an odd combination of interests, until you learn that he is also quite a fine cook, his specialty being wild Chanterelle and Portobello Mushrooms sauteed in a rich Honey-n-Herb Butter sauce....
His own recipe, of course.
 

Twigs is often joined on his early morning mushroom-hunting forays into the woods, by
the ever so lovely Miranda.

She doesn't give a whit about mushrooms, but has a certain vanity and fondness for "showing off" her many hats;
As they walk thru the woods, she enjoys the admiration of the chipmunk, squirrels and woodpeckers chattering from the treetops about how very pretty she looks today.
"What? this old thing? I only wear this hat when I don't care WHAT I look like...." 
 AHEM!
Miranda always brings along an empty basket, just in case Twigs discovers a large cropping of Shaggy Mane Mushrooms and runs out of space in his back-pack.

 Miss Emmaline, prefers to stay in the garden, tending the herbaceous borders, the strawberry beds and
experimenting with every new seed she can lay her paws on.
She is so anxious for her seeds to come  up, she tends to be bit overzealous with
the watering can.

Nothing makes her squeal with excitement quite so much as seeing  new seedlings
popping up, where, only last week, there was nothing but mud.


Emmaline has a special corner in the garden where she grows the herbs that Twigs Halifax uses in his Honey-n-Herb-Butter Mushroom sauce.

She's grateful that Twigs manages the bees... for she simply has no time for gathering honey,
but does enjoy their constant buzzing amidst her Petunias and Bee Balm.
  All in all, these  Rabbits make a pretty good trio.
 Happy Gardening!

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

We know Spring has Arrived in the Hollow when...

We know Spring has Arrived in the Hollow when:
 you need a  really good perch to be on the lookout for  "the CRANE".

  and when the Mistress turns you loose in the strawberry beds
 leaving you to cultivate the earth to a fine, granulated and perfect soil.
.
In fact, everyone on the farm is cultivating.

 You know spring has arrived when Mathilda tries for the umpteenth time to hatch the dozen or so eggs for whom she has so carefully prepared an ivy nest .
(I Hope, this time, they hatch for you sweetheart!)

 In early Spring
the Wisteria is incredibly laden with blooms and the hypnotic buzzing of the bees,
as the heady fragrance fills the garden.

 It took 8 years for the Wisteria to bloom like this.
This plant was the reason the Lord of the Manor built the huge Pergola.  It worked!

Spring  HAS arrived  when the seed packets overwhelm me.... How can I plant all this stuff?
 WILL I plant all this stuff?

Well, Spring MUST be here for sure, "the CRANE" has arrived!

  SEE??!
How do you recognize Spring at your place?

Friday, April 7, 2017

First Spring show of the Year....


We had our first show of the year last week at the Watermelon Moon Plantation.

 The Hopalong Bears made an appearance though I had not even priced them, put in their whiskers, or given them name-tags.... Therefore, they were only making a debut.


My bunnies were thrilled to be taken out of the studio and into the fresh Spring day.
 I've had these darling gossiping squirrels with me for over a year, but I am fine with that, for I love them dearly.

The show was on the grounds of  Emily's 1835 Farmhouse, which is her shop as well as her home.


 Emily's Plantation house was decked out to inspire anyone who loves this charming style.

 She and her team have a wonderful knack for table decor and their were at least a dozen tables set up throughout her shop and porch of the  Plantation Home.

 I got so many ideas , and came away with a few bags of BUNNY GRASS. You can see the grass growing in various containers on the tables.
 I will be making several containers this week and will show you how to do it, great Easter decor!


This is an extremely long porch... but you could take many of these ideas and apply them to a small porch or deck.


 Sweet!

I took a gazillion pictures of the inside shop, but I don't want to overload you. I'll post those later.


I couldn't wait to come home and give my own porch a makeover, I am working on it today...
Have to say, I've been so busy with artwork and critters that my blogging has suffered a good deal, if I haven't visited your blog in a while that is the reason. 
Cheers to you and Welcome Spring!


Saturday, March 11, 2017

Shifting gears in Art

Because I make my living with art, I often have to shift gears right in the middle of a project, going from one medium to the next. In this case, having finished all the drawings for my Pippity Trimble book, I must set them aside for a month before I can begin painting them. WHY? Because I will spend the  month of March making bears, rabbits, mice, fox and sheep for some upcoming Spring shows. Sometimes it's good to take a breather from one medium  and do something distinctly different, as it renews the imagination and prevents me from getting into a slump.
 .
I started with bears
  I've never been completely happy with my bears and I've been trying to give them a different look. Sort of a cross between Teddy cute and Grizzly serious.
.
 I had some wonderful colors of wool to use.


and began sculpting bear heads, one by one.

The Bear population began to grow and grow...


I liked the ones with the long noses,

and made many with Pinocchio profiles
I fancied his turned up nose.


A few were a bit funky... with uneven eyes that need straightening.
 Some had chubby faces
  And others were gentle ladies in bonnets.

Two of them looked more wily, and so they became foxes.



 In the end, I had 9 bear heads and 2 fine fox





  No matter how many times I do a face, I can never duplicate it exactly on the next critter. I guess we all have our distinct look, and bears are no different. I hate photographing needle-felting because the fibers just stick out all over the place in the picture. These just look 100 times better in person, trust me.
Now, I need bodies for all these Hopalong Hollowfolk
!!!!!
Then it's on to the mouse kingdom....