First blossom

First blossom

The first blossom on the plum tree... every year I anticipate it. This year, I was able to witness with my eyes and my camera the first blossom. I checked all over the tree to see if there were any others and there weren't. Just this first one.

Encapsulated in that first blossom are meanings for me... courage, bravery, hope, belief, and faith.

Someone always has to be first, even if it's hard to be the first.
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Keeping up with the neighbor

Keeping up with the neighbor

From the first year it was planted along the fence, the peach tree stood watching the plum tree on the other side of the fence. Every year, the plum tree would show off her porcelain white petal-skirts long before the peach tree could open her own pink petticoats. Every year, the plum tree would make the gardener on the other side of the fence smile and say, "It's spring!"

Finally, after a wet winter and with much determination, the peach tree decided this was her year to be first.

As soon as the sun peeked its warm face out from the grey storm clouds of January, the peach tree rushed as quickly as she could to dress for spring.

Periodically, she peered over the fence to see if the plum tree was winning. But the plum tree was still sleeping, in no hurry to get dressed.

With all her springtime frills on, the peach tree had done it!

She then bent her limbs over the fence hoping she could be the first to make the gardener on the other side of the fence smile and say, "It's spring!"

And she was.
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Building a nest out of rose leaves and twigs

Building a nest

As the sun has won the battle with the clouds the past few days, our world has turned from dreary winter into gorgeous spring.

The sparrow couples have begun their nest building activities under the eaves outside my studio window. Chirping and warbling, the sparrows have obviously taken Snow White's advice to "whistle while they work". Some gathered materials fall to the deck below. Amongst the dried twisted twigs are sprigs of freshly picked green sprigs of rose leaves... and one fallen feather.

I feel a kinship with the sparrows. We, too, have built our home of "rose leaves" and "twigs"--"twigs" of foundational structure and "rose leaves" of inexpensive adornments and "pretties" just because.

And, like the sparrows, we've done it as a couple--partners in building the nest we call home.
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He knows me so well...

He knows me so well...

He knows I love pink.
He knows I love pretty boxes wrapped up with ribbons.
He knows I don't care what's inside.
He knows me so well.
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Too beautiful to post-process

February "My Fifi"

The sun is shining today with white puffy clouds against a blue sky. It's like nature is wishing us a Happy Valentine's Day a day early.

I found the "My Fifi" rose bush trying to send out very early blossoms on some long canes that I've been meaning to cut back. I'm glad I didn't cut them back though, because it meant that I could photograph these precious little blossoms against the white clouds in the blue sky--the perfect backdrop.

I got back inside to post-process the photos and I just couldn't make myself do anything to this shot except a crop. To me, it's just too beautiful to post-process anymore. Sometimes it's just that way. It's "photographic serendipity".
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To my Valentine

To my Valentine

Twelve years ago Hubby and I celebrated the first time we were each other's Valentine. It was only a month and half before we were to be married. It was a stormy and wet El Nino year (this year's mini El Nino season reminds me a lot of that first Valentine's Day together). A dear friend suggested that we keep a Valentine's journal and only fill it with tidbits of each year's Valentine's Day. That first February 14th, I started the journal and pasted the weather clippings in it from the newspaper. That's how I remember that it was an El Nino year.

A month and half later were married on a wet and stormy day in March at the Oakland Temple in Oakland, California. I carried a silk bouquet (hard to believe now that I'm into fresh flower arranging). I wanted my compact bouquet of cream colored roses and purple-blue hydrangeas to last after our wedding day because our reception was planned for two weeks later (after a romantic honeymoon in Victoria, British Columbia).

Since then, I haven't photographed my wedding bouquet... until today. I have some beautiful cut-out heart ribbon I really wanted to photograph while the sun was shining briefly this afternoon. And my bouquet was sitting out after I'd rearranged my studio. It seemed to be the perfect backdrop for showcasing the ribbon.

And now it is a photographic valentine to My Valentine. I love you, Sweetheart!
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Harbinger

Harbinger

Sunny heads of daffodils bloom in the February rain--harbingers of spring days to come.
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Editing

February means camellias

A month into the new year and I'm feeling the effects of positive changes--acts of self editing. Most are fairly small and subtle changes.

I've gone to IKEA a total of 4 times in my whole life and 3 of those visits have been in the past 2 weeks hunting for the perfect studio furniture/cabinets that would make my space more functional (translation... less like a large storage closet). I found the right pieces, got them home, fairly successfully assembled them using the wordless all-pictorial IKEA instructions, and started the process of pushing things from one side of my studio to the other to paint and install cabinets. It's much like one of those tile-sliding games I used to get as a party favor when I was a kid with every move being strategically precise. As I was doing some cleaning before arranging some furniture, Hubby mentioned that spring cleaning comes early around here because our winter is so short--December through January usually. Yes, he's right. Now the studio has a fresh coat of lovely pink paint, new cabinets, and a feeling of lightness as I've engaged in "spring cleaning".

Throughout this week, I've had the niggling feeling that the same process of editing needed to happen in my blogging life. After a conversation with Hubby over dinner this evening and an inspiring perusal of a copy of Artful Blogging at the bookstore, I determined that I needed to consolidate my blogging activities to one blog.

For a long time, I've compartmentalized my various interests into separate blogs. I thought that my gardening buddies would prefer to only read about my garden here while my creative buddies would prefer to only see my artistic musings at Dusting in Pearls. However, that's not me. I'm not divided into segments. I am a conglomeration of all the things that I've found joy in since we moved here almost 10 years ago. I want my blog to be an authentic and true reflection of myself. To do that, I need to let one blog be a reflection of it all.

This seems to be the logical hub for it all. It was the first blog and should be the only blog. I hope that my gardening buddies will bear with me when I post about artsy stuff. And I hope my creative buddies will tune in when I wax rhapsodic about the latest bloom in the garden. Because that's me!

Featured photo: "February means camellias" (above) [digitally enhanced art photo]
In a sheltered space in the garden grow my camellia bushes.
And every February they are blooming... perfect timing for a valentine.

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First daffodils of 2010

First daffodil
Except for a slight crop and exposure adjustment, this shot is SOOC (straight out of the camera)

February is the month when we can expect daffodils to be in bloom, and just like clockwork the daffodils are brightening up the garden right now.

There was a break rain today, so I took the opportunity to go out and trudge around the garden with my camera to see what I could find that was pretty and worth photographing. Even though things look pretty boring from a distance, I found that if I looked up close I could find quite a few little pretties. Isn't that just like life...
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