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Friday, March 29, 2013

Country Flowers of the Month: Spring Wreath.

Arranging flowers is one of my favorite self- care practices. 
Here's a little and easy project I hope you'll enjoy, too.

I hadn't had the time to make a Spring wreath yet, first of all because of my hectic and stressful life as of late. And if I had planned to make one to greet Spring, the bad blizzards and freezing temperatures that welcomed us when we arrived in England, surely didn't allow me to even think of venturing outside for a country walk!

But now that the snow and thick, scary ice (which was everywhere on the roads!) are melting, I could find something suitable for a wreath.

Here's what I found:
snowdrops, some daffodils (and some I bought locally a few days ago), feathers, green ivy, bare branches from different trees and some branches with teeny tiny buds. I didn't cut them, they had already fallen down because of the wind... (Please ignore the handful of heart- shaped rocks! :))

Here's how to proceed.
1. As first step, separate the branches- the flexible ones, the green ones and the rigid ones. I usually start working on the floor...

2. Create a circle with ivy, holding it firmly in one hand. Then with a length of twine, tie a knot to secure it.

3. Proceed adding ivy, twisting and turning it as shown below. It may look complicated, but I assure you it's very easy to do when you'll try your hand at it. Here and there, secure with twine. This helps keeping your circle firm enough.

4. When you have the basic shape of your wreath, start inserting the "loose ends" among the others, until you have a regular wreath. Secure with twine.

5. Start adding other flexible branches, and proceed twisting and turning as you previously did with ivy. Your basic wreath is now complete!

You may even decide to leave it this way... as for me, I love its rustic simplicity.
But I'll go one step further and embellish it a little bit.

6. Add a little posy of snowdrops, using twine to keep in place.

7. Cut the daffodils and add them too. You just have to gently secure the stem among the other twigs. Of course, the flowers in this kind of arrangement will last just a day or two. Then you can keep the "green" wreath or change the flowers. For a lasting arrangement, use fabric decorations, empty eggs, etc. instead of fresh flowers. I will show you other ways to make durable fresh wreaths/centerpieces another time. This is a "last minute" one meant for a special day only (for ex. Easter day) to greet your guests or decorate the table.

8. Add some bows made of twine, and feathers if you like the idea. You can also attach empty eggs with hot glue, but I preferred to keep this as a "Spring" wreath  instead of an "Easter" one.

Snow and bad weather are forecasted in lots of Countries right now, but whatever the weather... Happy Easter everyone!
Monica x

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Encircled in Love!

Is there anything to say but thank. you.?
I am strong, and even more thanks to you! Knowing that you are there is a source of great strength and inspiration for me!

I want to count the blessings that this event is bringing along, instead of fighting it. And use them so that it can become growing time...  I must stop mulling, just trust the inner guidance, give myself permission to "feel" and then just let those feelings go. The only way I can help my dear one is passing on the healing that is bestowed upon me through the daily practice of self- love, self- care and self- compassion.  I keep telling to myself that if I add mental weight to what I cannot change with a magic wand, I cannot become an instrument of healing.

Things are already lighter after a few days have passed... It's all about letting the fears go, you know, and knowing that you are praying for/thinking of us, tremendously helped. Thank you!

I know I've not to worry... After all, I keep finding these heart rocks right at my doorstep, and they are evidence that we are loved! I do feel in my gut+ heart that everything will be all right in the end.

Look!... In just three days! This is a message from the Universe for sure.

Talk to you soon,
Monica x

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Your Prayers, Please.

Hello dear friends,
I don't like to ask, because I know there are so many problems out there in the world that need your prayer and healing energy... But I feel a bit lost at the moment, with a big problem that out of the blue came out to turn my life upside down.
I want to stay positive and I feel inside that everything is going to be all right in God's timing... but if you prayed a bit for us, it would be greatly appreciated. A family member I tremendously love, is scared and does feel very uncomfortable, and needs us all and our healing vibes and prayers (and I need more strength to go through this).
Thank you xoxo

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Happy Spring!

Happy Spring everyone!
Daffodils are dancing in the breeze in my corner of the world, and the cherry trees are blossoming. Violets have started to pop up everywhere, and the snow that surprised us on my birthday, quickly melted because of a beautiful sunshine.
My pink hyacinths are blooming too...

I wish you could smell them... intoxicating!
A big thank you for all of your adorable words and wishes for my birthday! They warmed my heart.
Monica x

Monday, March 18, 2013

One Decade Wiser.

Today I turn one year wiser... one decade wiser, actually!... 40 years on this Earth, and sooo much to learn and discover, yet! :)
As I walk into the new decade, I can't help reflecting a bit on the past 40 years.

It took me 40 years to completely change my vision of this life and of the world.

It took me 40 years to finally get rid of the (self or not) imposed "rules", boundaries, fears, and opinion of the others, which didn't allow me to spread my wings and fly free.

It took me 40 years to answer my inner "calling", and start living the life I was meant to live.

It took me 40 years to discover my taste and what makes me happy, for how odd it may seem.

It took me 40 years to take care of myself.

It took me 40 years to understand I am an introvert and a dreamer, and there's nothing wrong at all!

It took me 40 years to choose positive thinking as my only rule of living.

It took me 40 years to finally say a loud YES! to the Universe and to all that's in store for me.

It took me 40 years to wholeheartedly believe in synchronicity and in everyday magic.

It took me 40 years to become conscious that I have a serious problem with "my stuff", and I should simplify more! :)

Monica x

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Introducing a New Column: Country Flowers of the Month.

I strongly believe in the power of flowers, and am deeply inspired by the spiritual qualities I see in them: Beauty, Grace, Simplicity, Inspiration and Joy. I believe they should be brought more often into our homes and working environments.

Nature generously offers us plenty of free supplies to unleash our creativity. I'm going to share with you creative ideas and show how to make very spontaneous arrangements, incorporating branches, twigs, herbs, foliage and even the humblest wildflowers, that bring joy to the soul and you can share with others too.
It's my goal to make use of garden flowers you can pick from your own garden or buy locally, or of natural flowers picked during a country walk. In this case, be sure you're not picking rare flowers, and always cut them without removing the bulbs/roots.

I've been wanting to start this regular column here on my blog for a while now. In the past sometimes I happened to publicly speak (not my cup of tea as an intovert :)) to small feminine audiences about creative domesticity and flower arrangement techniques, and I thought I could bring some of those ideas here for you all to enjoy too. I'm not a trained florist, but I love pretend play. In my early 30s, I often made arrangements for friends that were having parties or celebrations. My posts will hopefully work as inspiration for you, and then you can dive deeper into the subject elsewhere.

Inspired by my word of the year, move, I decided that even if it's my purpose to enrich each of these posts with useful informations about the flowers shown, the containers and materials used, displaying ideas and step by step tutorials on how to arrange them, I'll move forward now and just start. If I wait for everything to be perfect, I'll never do that. I hope you'll appreciate this initial, simpler post while I perfect my idea as I go.

As my first entry for this column, I'll give you this end-of-February/beginning-of-March posy of snowdrops (Galanthus nivalis) from a woodland walk. In its simplicity, lovingly displayed in a slim glass jar (containing salad dressing in its former life), this small posy is beautiful and comforting at the same time, and reminds us that no matter how cold, bare and long Winter is, there will always be reawakening and abundance soon after.

A tussie mussie made with Scilla bifolia (Alpine squill or two- leaf squill). It's endemic in Central and Southern Europe, loves shady places. That blue seems to come out of one of my watercolor boxes!

A simple cone of paper, if you don't have a basket with you, prevents the flowers from being damaged (and makes a lovely way to present them).

When the stems are very short, an upcycled jam jar or jogurt jar is always a good idea. Just tie a bow with twine or ribbon to add a pretty touch.

Happy Spring everyone! Oh yes- it's almost here!
Monica x

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

First Signs of Spring.

First of all, thank you so much for bearing with me during the transition from two blogs from one once again! All the posts from my other blog (not active anymore) are now accessible for you in the archive on this blog. And many thanks for your comments, yes it was hard to manage two and, as I really want to simplify my life, coming back to having one only is like fresh air for me! Plus, I feel so "at home" @The White Bench!

Spring is definitely here, with warmer, sunny days and frequent rain spells, that prepare Nature for a gorgeous, blooming season ahead! I intend to find beauty in the rain, and this looks like a good point to start with. Also, rain cleans the air, quenches the thirsty meadows and trees, and at night, cuddles us with her soft lullaby. 

And thanks to all the rain of the last week, the pink Hyacinths I have planted last October with my Kim (waggling and sniffing around) have grown! They're such a promise of the coming good...

This lonely teapot without lid was abandoned at the thrift shop. Isn't it perfect as bulb container?

I have also planted tulips in this zinc bucket. We used to be surrounded by hundreds of them in our old garden, and I always love having them around with their happy faces.

You may remember the plant label I made last year.

Garden soil and paint on my nails and hands... pure bliss!

My tree peonies are starting to get leaves... 

Rosemary in bloom.

Hellebores in bloom! Love them.

And the Phalaenopsis orchids indoors are blooming too! Not as profusely as last year though, as I forgot to fertilize them last autumn. I have already mentioned I usually set my orchids into a hydroculture pot (in this case, an antique chamber pot).

Have you spotted the first signs of Spring yet? (to my dear readers Down Under I should ask- Autumn?).
Monica x