Friday, April 16, 2010

Beach shell craft hostess gift

                                                   My Max and his little crab.

Every day on our little stretch of beach we collect shells, even if it is just one or two beauties slipped into a pocket. And everyone who travels to visit anyone this summer who lives on the beach will undoubtably do the same thing. It's a universal beach-visit activity. But then what to do with the shells, once the suitcases are unpacked and these sandy, sometimes smelly things emerge? Fill a jar? Fine, but why not create a gift for your hostess or yourself?  Last summer I picked shells and crab legs and stones off of our beach with my son Max, and by the end of the summer we had quite a collection. I had several very plain wooden picture frames on hand and used one of them to made this charming ode-to-summer picture frame.
How to: The plain unpainted wood frame can be bought anywhere. I chose one that had no molded or relief decorations, as it is easier to attach things to a flat surface. There can be picked up anywhere, even second hand at yard sales, keep your eyes peeled. Mine I bought at Pearl Paint in New York for about $13. I carefully washed the shells with soap and water and let them air dry completely. Then I planned out my design, with a crab shell body at the top and used a symmetrical pattern of matching shells at the top. I took the shells off carefully and set them on the table next to the frame, then warmed up my hot glue-gun and got busy glueing the shells in place. Within less than a half hour my project was complete, and just needed to sit and allow the glue to dry completely.
I chose a complimentary photo of a very happy summer moment to showcase the new frame. Doesn't Max look sweet here?

--Monica Forrestall

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Airing your clean Laundry

Is there anything better than the fresh aroma of fabric after it's been blowing in the ocean breeze?
When we have guests over for dinner, even if my linen napkins are clean I make a point of hanging them up outside for a hour or so, before dinner. It's a small touch, but when guest lifts a napkin to wipe their mouth and breathes in fresh salty air,  I know that aroma is brings the ocean inside.

Friday, April 2, 2010

"Memory lets us have roses in December"

A (little altered) quote from James Barrie that speaks of the passion of gardeners.

These are the fragrant roses from Beach Rose Cottage I remember and can't wait to tend, smell, fill our house with come summer.
Pretty "Topaz Jewel" pale yellow rose under the kitchen window is surrounded 
with a few round stones collected from Delaps Cove. The yellow rose, according to the Victorian-era language of flowers, symbolizes friendship and devotion. 
In early July the peonies and tall white rose bushes along our driveway are in full bloom. Don't they look stunning in a creamy white pitcher? Look for white stoneware pitchers at yard sales and junk shops all over the province. Chips on the edge of spouts won't matter when used for a vase, but make certain there are no cracks, because it definitely needs to hold water!

The large rose bush that climbs the garage in full bloom July 27th, 2009.
To put it in perspective, the bush reached around 12 feet last year.
Close up of the pink roses in full bloom.

Beach roses (left) and American Pillar climbing rose (right)
There are so many roses in July, the vases are filled and I use teapots and creamers to hold buds.
Three different rose varieties that bloom around Beach Rose Cottage in July: Ballerina Rose (left), Dark red (center) from large bush out front and pink with white center (left) from climbing bush in backyard.
The white rose bush on the east side of the house has roses that start as pale peachy color, and when they bool they become creamy white all over. 
A small white bush in the side garden has delicate, and impossible to believe fragrant blooms.
My pink rosebush on the side of house that blooms in early August was so full, the stems were dragging on the ground this year. 
So in mid-August I put a trellis, bought from a woodworker up the shore road, behind this rosebush to prop it up, and then supported some stems to climb up around the living room window. The joy of peeping out through fragrant roses on curling vines will be something to look forward to indeed. 

This deep red rose bush (above) we planted ourselves in the backyard under the large picture windows overlooking the back lawn.
On the side of the house, next to the "Capt. Samuel Holland" climber rose bush I planted in August 2008, I rooted several stems (greens stalks right in photo) from our large pink rose bush. Since buying rose bushes can be expensive (they usually start at $20 each) learning how to root cuttings from thriving plants is a very economical way to spread beautiful rose bushes all over your property. Many seemed to take. I can't wait to see how many survived the fall and winter and will reward us with roses in the future. I am learning, gardening is about the future and enormous patience.
I am trying to root more stems/branch cuttings from the big pink rose bush, next to our old 100-year old chicken coop way in the backyard. 

Here's looking forward to a summer of roses, roses and more roses than ever.
---Monica Forrestall