Monday, May 30, 2011

Featured Artist: Carrie J. Keplinger

 During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Carrie J. Keplinger

Secret Thoughts of Women
 I am an emerging fiber artist who has been working in needle-felting and crochet since 2002. I use my work to explore controversial topics both public and private, from environmental issues to the secret thoughts of women. Each of my pieces holds a significant message meant to educate and liberate the viewer’s perspective.

Secret Thoughts, detail

Secret Thoughts, detail

Friday, May 27, 2011

Featured Artist: Sarah Jefferis

During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Sarah Jefferis

My father and grandfather, who are both stained glass artists, have influenced me. When I was young I started out sketching ‘stained glass’ artwork. Little worlds in each section of glass. I have discovered that embroidery can be a great addition to my work.
Ocho Soles
 The piece, Ocho Soles, involves striped fabric deconstructed with embroidery. This deconstruction method gives the fabric a tension and curvilinear form.


I am a currently attending Kutztown University pursuing a Bachelors Degree in Crafts. I spent two years completing my general education requirements at Reading Area Community College in Reading, Pennsylvania. While attending, I was involved in the art community and art publications. I have worked in Loom, Non-Loom Fibers and Fine Metal areas.  


2011 Exhibit - Daily Fiber Intake at Some Things Looming Gallery in Reading, PA 


2007 Legacy Scholarly Journal:  Vol  6. Reading Area Community College Publication
2008 Legacy Scholarly Journal:  Vol  7. Reading Area Community College Publication 

Organized the first photography club at Kutztown University.  


Columbia Scholastic Press Association 
Sarah Jefferis: Gold Circle Award First Place for Single Illustration Rendering Photographic Material: Black and White 

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Featured Artist: Stacy Hortner

 During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Stacy Hortner

Deep Sea

Artist's Statement:

As a small child, I loved working with my hands. I especially loved the meditative aspects of fine handwork such as embroidery. I continued to embroider most of my adult life until a few years ago when I stopped using the patterns and designs of others. My textile compositions are original. I've had formal training neither as an artist nor as a quilter. Every piece starts out as an experiment and rarely finishes as I at first envisioned it. I love learning about every sewing and surface embellishment technique and giving it expression in a very material way. Whether I embroider traditional pieces or create my mostly abstract, contemporary art quilts, it is all about the journey and the experience of creation.

Deep Sea, detail
•    B.A., German Literature, Hiram College, OH
•    M.S., Library and Information Science, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Upon Layers
After working a number of years in academic and public libraries as well as working as a market analyst for a large corporation, I decided to pursue my life's passion - creating art through fiber. Since 2005, I've been creating art quilts on commission for area patrons and have only recently begun showing my quilts in state and national shows.

Upon Layers, Detail

•    2008 Lake Metroparks Farmpark, Kirtland, OH. Honorable Mention, "Large Wall Hanging, Pieced, Machine Quilted" for "Slient Aspen", 2008
•    2007 Lake Metroparks Farmpark, Kirtland, OH. 2nd place, "Small Mixed Techniques" for "Going in Circles", 2007


•    2010, Lehigh Valley Arts Council, Allentown, Sept - Oct.
•    2010, The Gallery at the Allentown Jewish Community Center, July 15 - August 30
•    2008 Denver National Quilt Festival, Denver, CO May 1 - May 4
•    2008 Lake Metroparks Farmpark, Kirtland, OH Feb 8 - March 19
•    2007 Pennsylvania National Quilt Extravaganza XIV, Harrisburg, PA "Silent Aspen" and "I Never Promised you a Rose Garden", Sept. 6 - Sept. 9
•    2007 Lake Metroparks Farmpark, Kirtland, OH Feb 9 - March 21

•    Studio Art Quilts Association, 2007- present
•    Explorers, a fiber artists' group (NY/NJ/PA), 2008 - present
•    Lehigh Valley Arts Council, 2009- present
•    Lehigh Valley Embroiderer’s Guild, 2009- present


I was interviewed for and my work appeared in the following articles:
•    Vehslage, Carolyn Lee, "Have you ever been approached to do a commission?" SAQA Journal 19.3 (2009): 6-11
•    The Lehigh Valley Jewish Newspaper, Hakol, April, 2010 (featured in "Homes" section)
•    The Lehigh Valley Arts Council Newsletter, "Inside the Arts: Featured Artist", Sept/Oct 2010

Tuesday, May 24, 2011


We had just completed a successful and very pleasant dinner meeting conducting 'some things looming' business. I was feeling rather pumped up. We agreed on the name of next Spring's exhibit, mentioned some Saturday Sampler business, discussed some things about Handmade Holidays, and basically talked shop for about three hours. Good stuff. So when I got into my husband's eleven year old manual transmission car and I couldn't quite get the gear shift to go into reverse, I did what every normal human being does: I pumped the clutch a few times, and kept trying, ignoring the warning bells flashing in my head.

I got out of the Applebees parking lot, navigated past the mall, on to the highway, and was cruising along when suddenly, my car was in neutral and the stick shift had no resistance. At this point, I should perhaps explain that many Pennsylvania roads have little to no shoulder, even on the highways. I'm not sure why, other than perhaps terrain dictated the roads eons ago, and we just paved over top of the horse trails. Managing to roll my husband's car into the excuse that passed for a shoulder of the road, I was dismayed to see half my car still sticking out into the lane. I was even more dismayed to discover my cell phone battery was nearly dead; just enough life in it to make one phone call.

I tried home first, figuring the Mr. would be home by then, or at the least, The Boy would pick up. I knew he was home, and then he'd give the deets to his father. I figured wrong. On the sixth ring, I hung up, and prayed that my phone would hold out for one more call. I called my father, Floyd. "Hey Papa, you think you can come rescue me?" Every time a car swooshed past, my car swayed side to side, "I'm not in a good spot," I said, and then proceeded to give garbled directions in my hyper-adrenalinized state. In the meantime, I dug through my purse, brilliantly remembering my Tom-tom was there, and the charger for that would work for my phone. I dialed the husband's cell phone, and miraculously, he had it on him, and it was charged.

"I'm stuck on the highway," I said.
"Oh no! What happened?" He asked.
I explained in detail the clutch, the stick shift, the rolling to a slow stop on the 'shoulder' and my precarious position. "Can you call Geico? We have roadside assistance. They'll send us a tow truck."

Shortly after I hung up with him, my father called looking for me. Apparently, my directions were lousy. Another five minutes, he pulled up behind me, assessed the situation and decided he was going to walk up and around the bridge I was facing to see if there was more shoulder on the other side. I was close to an off-ramp, and he figured that there might be more space as a result. "I think I'm going to use my truck to push you a little further so your butt isn't hanging out on the road anymore. It would make me feel better," he said.
"It would make me feel better too!" I said enthusiastically. I had just spent a good part of ten minutes imagining someone rear-ending me.

I watched as my father's truck slowly inched towards my rear bumper and felt a gentle nudge. After the third tap, he called out his window, "Do you still have your emergency brake on???" Oops. I took the brake off, and we began limping our way down the "shoulder" which was narrowing down to nothing the closer we got to the bridge. Calling out directions, Dad directed me around the bridge and on to a much wider shoulder. I was now at least a foot away from the lane where vehicles were still swooping past at incredible volume. "Where on earth is all this traffic coming from at 10:00 at night?" I asked. Meanwhile, my mother, who had just returned from our meeting to find no sign of my father began frantically calling his phone, my home phone... She came home to find signs of life, but no signs of his person. It was an understandable reaction.

I hadn't heard from Jeremy, my husband, in awhile, so I called the house phone. He was still on the line with Geico, who was still trying to find a tow truck. I wondered if it would have been faster to just find one ourselves and pay for the tow, rather than use road-side assistance. I hung up and told Dad what was going on. Leaning into my drivers side window, we talked about this and that for a good fifteen minutes before my phone rang. "Ray is coming to save you," Jeremy said.

At ten forty-five, my rescuer came with his big hook and flashing lights. He took my information, and my credit card number. Dad and I piled back into his truck and he drove me home. I walked into the door, greeted by my wild-haired husband. I could tell he'd been having a time of it at home. 

"If the situation had been reversed," he said by way of greeting, "You'd have fallen apart."
"Gee thanks," I said. "As if what I went through wasn't traumatic?"
"No. It gets better. The lady on the phone was from Georgia."
"In other words, she has no idea where Reading is, or what it looks like, or where I actually was located on the highway. It was probably like playing whisper down the lane."
"Exactly." He said as he smoothed down his hair. "I had just gotten in the door, I hadn't had dinner, and I had a most pressing need to use the bathroom when you called. That alone would have made you a mess."
I had to concede that one.
"So while I was on the phone listening to the hold music, I noticed the toilet water was low and I flushed."
"It over-flowed."
"And then I noticed Josh was still dressed and not anywhere near ready for bed. He hadn't taken his medicine, he wasn't in his pajamas..."
"He was still playing his video game,"
"Exactly. And since I had the girls with me at band practice, they were ALSO just now trying to get ready for bed..."
"And you were still on hold with the nice lady from Georgia."
"Yes. So after a bit she came back on the line and I asked her how many places she had called, and she said '38'" He imitated her accent perfectly, I'm sure. "And then I asked, 'how many more on your list?' She said, '42,' I said, '38?!? 42?!? Seriously?' " He flipped back into his Southern Belle Accent as he continued his story, "And she said, 'Well, a lot of them told me they refuse to drive in Reading at night' I said, 'seriously.'"
"The irony is, I wasn't any where NEAR Reading. I was on THE HIGHWAY. My best guess is that she was calling towing places and saying 'Can you tow someone in Reading?' and they tuned out," I said.
"You're probably right." Jeremy said, "So after a bit, I asked how far away she was calling for a truck. She told me as much as fifty miles away. I said 'fifty miles?!? That's practically Philadelphia! That's like an hour away!' So she told me there was this one for-pay place, and I said 'take it. I don't care if we have to pay up front and then submit the claim. Just take it.' And so she called Ray."
"I'm so glad you said that. I kind of wish we had realized sooner what was probably happening. I might not have sat so long. I'm pretty sure anyone would come to the rescue on the highway."
"I know! If she had called someone from out near Philadelphia, you'd have waited another hour."

I shuddered at the thought.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Featured Artist: Patricia Doran

 During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Patricia Doran

Pennsylvania Past
       I spent my working life as a librarian, but I spent my leisure time with fiber. I explored weaving, embroidery, beading, and quilting in my leisure time. Pursuing these hobbies helped me to look at the world from a different perspective, to appreciate long hours of slow and thoughtful creation. In those years I developed perception as well as skills.

     Now that I am retired I can devote more time to developing skills and discovering a point of view in the pieces I make. I like to look at my surroundings and skew them from a different angle or to make a work centered on an unnoticed piece of an everyday scene. I often work with scenes from nature and I sometimes use natural items in my pieces. I enjoy using many forms of embellishment on one piece.
Pennsylvania Future

     The pieces which I have submitted to "some things looming" are an integrated pair depicting changing nature. Our dynamic world is changing. Mankind’s intervention with that world certainly affects the change, but to what extent?
     “Pennsylvania Past” is a woven piece to which I have added machine and hand embroidery as well as fabric embellishments. “Pennsylvania Future” was first dyed and painted. Machine embroidery and added natural elements were then added to the piece.      

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Featured Artist: Dianne Vottero Dockery

3 Hole Punch I, 2011

My life as an artist began early.  My tools: a box of contè crayons inherited from my artist uncle and recycled butcher’s paper from my grandmother’s kitchen.  At age three, I rose early and claimed the vacant kitchen table where I drew to my heart’s content. 

     Decades later, fibers have replaced the crayons.  The choice of fibers as a medium challenges me to step away from the photo-realism I am able to achieve with paint or pastels, reducing reality to graphic interpretation.  However, I do approach the medium much like a painter who chooses and arranges colors on a palette, preparing for the marriage of color, form, and texture to surface. 
3 Hole Punch II, 2011

     I am fortunate to have been given acute sensitivity and eyes that see the beauty in shapes, textures, and colors that often go unnoticed by the average passerby.    If the art I make stirs the viewer to a higher awareness and appreciation of the world around them, then I humbly consider myself to be successful as an artist.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Featured Artist: Michael Dennis

During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Michael Dennis.

How big a story can you tell in one square foot? 

A Whale's Life: Flukes, 2011

In the 19th century thousands of men went to sea to slaughter whales. Whale oil lubricated and lit the industrial revolution, and whale bone literally propped up Victorian fashion. Although the industry was global in nature, the hunting of sperm whales was almost exclusively an American effort. From the ports of New Bedford and Nantucket, Macys and Starbucks sailed forth to reap their first fortunes. But what did they know about the whale? Probably less than a land-side huntsman knew about the deer he chased.

Flukes, Detail, 2011

In this triptych, the whale gets his moments. Here, swimming as if soaring in the air; there a snack of calamari; and then the moment of contact with our species. A sperm whale may live to be 75 years, if he escapes the harpoon. At its peak, the world population of sperm whales had to be close to two million. Two great slaughters, one in the 19th century and one after WWII, have reduced that to about 300,00 cetaceans. And still we know so little.
A Whale's Life: Jonah, 2011
Art is about surface. Paint on canvas, pencil on paper, the world is compressed to a thin film. Imagine that film thickening, imagine it as felt and fabric, being shaped and distorted to match the surface of its subject. But even as the surface is manipulated, the artist has to contemplate the structure that supports it. And in understanding the structure, a little comprehension occurs. Some structure is related to the art of sewing, some imposed by the nature of the subject, and some by the environment in which the tableau is posed. All that is left right out in the open, so that the art may be approached from all sides, not only physically, but also emotionally and spiritually.
Jonah, Detail, 2011

The three panels are crafted from acrylic felt.  Water was created in cotton fabric. The careful observer will find glass, semi-precious stones, wood and copper.  Harpoons, lances and fittings are forged from iron wire. The mounting blocks are oak from the seawall of Boston harbor. Dan Alexander of Leaning Barn Iron Works executed the frames.
A Whale's Life: Kraken

Michael Dennis has been a freelance graphic artist since 2002, doing business as MDIM. He graduated in 2010 from Pennsylvania College of Art & Design with a major in Illustration, and may eventually get a diploma.

Kraken, detail

Previous public exhibitions include the 2010 Landis Valley Outdoor Art Show, and a  barrier at Lancaster Amtrak Station, where CH&E Construction  selected 12 student artists whose work will be displayed until renovations at the station are complete, in 2011 or 2012.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Featured Artist: Fran Caselli

During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Fran Caselli.

Passion, 2011

II.- Academic Background

College studies                     Fashion Design Professional institute Duoc, Santiago Chile.

Internship                               Municipal Theatre of Santiago, Chile.

College Thesis:                       Recovery and Preservation of handmade textiles techniques incorporating a refine prêt-a-porter (ready to wear).

III.-Work Experience

  • Design assistant in the Municipal Theatre of Santiago, Chile (2006)
  • Fashion Designer in FONDAR  project 2006 “Violenta Mala Vida” , Dance- Audiovisual
  • Creator and founder of clothing store – Textile Workshop Alma Primitiva (2006 - 2008)


  • Felt workshop / Santiago, Chile
  • Weave workshop (advanced level) Santiago, Chile
  • Diploma: Creation and innovation for new companies/ Chile País Diseño  Santiago, Chile.
  • Workshop – Fabrication Dyeing, Printing, and Finishing Essentials/ FIT New York, USA.
  • Career Opportunities for Working with Color / FIT New York, USA.
  • Accessories Design / The New School, New York, USA



     BLOG QUINTA TRENDS (January 5, 2011)

     Bienal Iberoamericana de Diseño en Madrid (March, 2008)

     Chile Pais Diseño ( May 15, 2008)

PAULA Magazzine, (May 3, 2008)

Passion, detail

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Featured Artist: Janna Carrozza

During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Janna Carrozza

Sun Floral

Weaving with respect for the environment has been my passion for many years. The adventure started in college with organic cotton, hemp, linen, and recycled denim. My fiber selection now includes tencel, soy, corn, and banana silk. Soy silk comes from the by-product of the tofu manufacturing process; tencel comes from wood pulp and the trees are grown on land that cannot be used for any other purpose. Tencel produces almost no waste and the little bit can be recycled. All cellulose fibers, including banana and corn, are also completely biodegradable. Banana silk is not only created from the stalks of the banana tree, but the fiber is also recycled from clothing previously made from banana silk.

From top to bottom: Fire Sign on Colbalt, Sun Floral, and Violet Twill
The fiber I weave is not only environmentally friendly, but pesticide free. The natural dyes used in my weaving are harvested from my garden whenever possible. The colors are as carefully chosen and blended together. The colors and patterns are uniquely woven together like paint on a canvas. Each weaving is both one-of-a-kind and earth friendly. Creating eco art is imperative to the philosophy of consciously thinking about the environment as a part of the inspiration. As all organic things in nature each one is unique, I never repeat a design pattern in my weavings. I choose to invent something new each time I begin to weave. Nature is a huge part of my thoughts, and is when I am at my best. 
Fire Sign on Colbalt, detail
The weaving process is a beautiful experience that takes an enormous amount of time to complete. Each inch that is woven is carefully rendered. The process of my art making is peaceful and reminds me of how I feel when I am doing yoga. I feel centered when I weave and at peace with the world. The best part of the whole process is cutting off the fibers and admiring the texture and drape of a finished weaving that did not deplete, or harm the earth to create.

Violet Twill, detail

Friday, May 13, 2011

Featured Artist: Nancy Bardach

During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Nancy Bardach.

My art quilting combines:
•    Original images
•    Commercial and artist-designed fabrics
•    Stitching lines of varied colors and patterns

I focus on images where fleeting light and permanent concrete objects intersect. This “snapshot” approach is especially appropriate at a small scale. Using the physical format of a 12” square is like squeezing a moment in time into one concentrated image.

Often in my work abstraction is combined with real or symbolically real images to convey more meaning. Similarly I employ and piece many types of fabrics with varying colors, textures, commercially designated mood and “symbols” or fabrics that have been hand-manipulated for unusual effects.

Title: Wetlands/ Drylands, 2009     

•    A popular environmental theme even before the Deepwater Horizon rig swamped the Gulf waters and wetlands
•    Opposition of ideas indicated by fabric imagery and colors, a commercial pattern of beauty and a hand-dyed marbling pattern of sludgy scum
•    Diagonal seaming and cross-cutting directional placement reinforce the difference between healthy and damaged ecologies
•    Quilting stitches, varied in color, add emphasis to the difference
•    Sequences alternating vertically express optional policy and economic choices that can be made

Title: A Healing Process, 2010    

A Healing Process

•    This is one of a series of health and healing pieces responding to the theme in various colors but with the same overall mood changes and morphology.
•    Gradations of dense to light, from compact or chaotic to open and playful fabric patterns parallel the process from poor health to healing
•    Stitching lines of varied color and density reinforce the movement from disease to health and the synergy between the two
•    Small scale is required working with the chosen fabrics. Programmatic “feeling” and scale of shapes in the commercial material and visual effect of their colors and patterns often dictated the step width
•    The 12” x 12” format is ideal for such an exercise, taking advantage of scale in fabric patterns, colors and complexity and concentrating the idea for better effect.

Title: REFLECTIONS: Glass and Teak Railings, Shipboard, 2010 
REFLECTIONS: Glass and Teak Railings, Shipboard

One of a series capturing sharp light effects, especially unusual and abstract ones. Concentrating both the field of view and a moment in “time” make a 12”x12” condensed format very appropriate.

•    Piecing fabrics to capture almost photographic moments of fleeting light effects
•    Concentrating on a small, well-framed part of the entire shipboard visual experience
But for one, fabrics are all simple solid colors:
•    Stark white is used to emphasize bright, late afternoon light reflecting on clear glass and the water beyond.
•    Warm sienna embodies the teak railing’s oval profile, with a highlight along its length
•    Ocean-colored fabrics are pieced in curving patterns similar to wave action and light shining on the water’s surface
•    Reflected geometric shapes on board and rectilinear aluminum framing of glass guardrails contrast with the organic nature of the waves.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Featured Artist: Linda Bachman

During the seven weeks of '"Size Matters" we'll focus on individual artists here on our blog. Every week, several artists will be featured. Today, we're pleased to introduce to you: Linda Bachman.

I am a mixed media artist with a passion for fiber art and designing contemporary art quilts.

Nature in all its glorious colors and shapes has been a wonderful source of inspiration and lends itself to a beautiful palette with unlimited possibilities for art quilts.

My work is abstract, rich in color and many times a combination of hand dyed and surface designed fabrics mixed with commercial fabrics when needed.  Many of my pieces are embellished with beads, fibers and other found objects. This tends to give them an organic feel.

Pillars of Hope

Recent Exhibitions:
o    “Show Your Self” Exhibit, Art for ACT Gallery, Fort Myers, Florida
o    “Exquisite Corpse” Exhibit at Kinetic Gallery at SUNY Geneseo, Geneseo, New York
o    Mancuso World Quilt Show - 2010, West Palm Beach Florida
o    Breaking Traditions Traveling Exhibit, Plymouth, Michigan
o    “The Almighty Dollar” Exhibit at Lower Link Gallery, Central Library of Rochester, NY
o    Alliance for the Arts Gallery, Fort Myers, Florida
o    ”A Personal Landscape: Contemporary Art Quilts” - Tyler Art Gallery, SUNY Oswego, Oswego, New York
o    Mancuso World Quilt Show- 2009, West Palm Beach, Florida
o    National Small Art Quilt Works Exhibit, Main St. Gallery, Groton, NY
o    “Magnificent Inspiration-The Art Quilt”, Memorial Art Gallery, Rochester, New York
o    Williams-Insalaco Gallery 34, Rochester, New York
o    Blurred Boundaries Mixed Media Exhibit, Plymouth, Michigan
o    Art for a Cause Gallery, Miami, Florida
o    “Bountiful Harvest- Cornucopia of Fiber Arts”, Ontario Art Center Council, Canandaguia, New York
o    Art and Cultural Council Gallery, Rochester, New York

Professional Affiliations and Memberships:
o    Studio Art Quilters Association (SAQA)
o    Surface Design Association (SDA)
o    Art Quilters Unlimited
o    Rochester Contemporary Art Center (ROCCO)

Spiraling Out of Control


Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Petunias, Planters, and Patios, Oh My!

When we purchased the building that houses 'some things looming' we were particularly thrilled with the attached courtyard, despite the fact that it contained trash and two-foot high weeds.  One of the first things we did, was to put Joshua, our gardener-in-training and my first-born child, to work cleaning up the space:  pulling the weeds, throwing out the trash, and digging out two foot long roots along the building perimeters.  He's a high-energy kid.  Over the years, I've put him to work in my own yard to burn off some of that excess energy, so it was a task he was familiar with and often enjoys. 

In the spring of 2010, we added a fence, complete with gate and lock to keep our neighbors from throwing their trash into our courtyard.  At this point, our progress stalled because the courtyard is landlocked by several buildings. There is no egress to the street, which means, any kind of patio materials had to go through the gallery or the boutique to get back outside.   The more we contemplated how we'd haul brick and stone, the more we realized it might be better to pay someone to do the work for us.

This past fall, we hired a landscaper who designed the patio and installed it behind the fence.

Building the Patio
It took three or four days, and many many more truckloads for the two landscapers to deliver the brick, stone, and sand.  Hauling wheelbarrow after wheelbarrow, they carried the materials up a ramp over up our front steps, through our gallery, and to the courtyard.   Daily I watched the progress of the construction.  Being an artist who finds the process as exciting as the product, I was enthralled watching the assembly.

One half complete!

Almost finished!

This Spring, we had the landscaper come back and fill the region outside of the fence with decorative stone.  I'm not even going to guess how many trips that took. And finally, our patio/courtyard was complete! Or was it?

We still needed to acquire tables and chairs, and what about decorative elements? Prowling stores from here to Timbuktu, Floyd managed to snag three large table umbrellas the very color of our 'some things looming' green.  He put up the center awning, anchored it down, and voilà!  NOW we were finished with the courtyard.  Or were we??

Any good city courtyard should have a container garden, we thought. And since we wanted to debut our outdoor space at the Size Matters opening, it fell to Floyd and I to create the garden.   I wanted evergreens, first and foremost.  So we hopped in the car and started hunting through garden centers all across our fair city's suburbs, in the cold, misty, spring rain.  We began with some dwarf spruce trees, and some blueish-green shrubs, I have no idea of their names.  I'm not a gardener. I leave that up to the kid, who has a ridiculously keen green thumb.  Mostly, I said "ooh, that's pretty and would go nice with all these other shades of green. Let's get that!" 

I picked out a couple of ruby daylillies as well as some reddish grass-like plant.    Then we found this rose bush/shrub variety called "Knock Out Roses."  Knowing how much Rebekah loves her roses, we decided to grab three of those for three corners of our patio.  Unfortunately, nothing is in bloom yet, so we knew we'd need some annuals to add color.  Floyd suggested some hanging window boxes attached to the top of our patio fence with a draping flower out of them.  We ordered eight boxes, and are awaiting them, even as I type.
Piling our finds into Floyd's truck, we headed to the next stop for some containers, stone, and potting soil to plant our goodies.   Next came the fun part: getting it all back to the courtyard.

Joshua, our gardener
Back and forth, forth and back, we hauled our prized purchases.  Thankfully, I had our gardener-in-training, Joshua, to help muscle us through the process. He even began the planting process that evening, managing to set-up three trees and one rose bush.  The next day, I brought over some annuals already in planters (thank goodness!) and a couple of window boxes to hang off the railing on the steps leading out of the boutique.  Floyd and I began to tackle the rest of the pots.  Half-way through our first pot, we wondered to ourselves how a fourteen year old boy managed to plant three trees and one rose bush all by his lonesome.  It was quite the task for just the two of us! 
Our "gardener" and his sisters who "helped"
Much to our chagrin, we miscalculated how much dirt and stone we really needed, which meant another trip to the garden center.  We decided to pick up more annual planters to decorate the empty space between the door leading out of the gallery and the door leading out of the boutique.  Piling it all in the back of my mommy-mobile (aka mini-van) we headed back to the studio.  A gazillion more trips back and forth from the street, through the gallery, to the patio, and we finally unloaded the rest of the stash. 

By this point, our bodies were talking to us. We had been squatting, bending over, or hauling large heavy bags of product for hours, and decided we might not be able to get upright ever again.  Thankfully, this was not the case, and by the evening before the Size Matters opening, we were able to sit out and enjoy the fruits of our labors. 
leading out from the gallery to the courtyard

The patio at night

Looking back towards the gallery door

During the day.  Doncha love the green umbrellas Floyd found? They're our color!
It's lovely to sit out here.

or here. :)
We hope you'll stop by sometime, to see Size Matters, and maybe take a peek at our little courtyard hide-away here in the city.