Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GUEST POST: 8 Must Have Plants for the Holidays

Holiday decoration is soon to come. Here is a guest post from Brianna Davis:

8 Must Have Plants for the Holidays

If getting an interior ready for the holidays, fresh greenery is a must.  But which plants are associated with the holidays and can be utilized for indoor decorating?  The below is a list of eight must have plants for the holidays, which include a few well known plants and even some only told of in stories.

1.   Poinsettias – These red and green flowers are a staple for the holidays.  They can be used in boxes, vases, as garlands, and many other uses.  They need lots of direct sunlight, water when the first half inch of soil dries, and liquid fertilizer. 
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2.  Holly – There is a reason the Christmas carols say to deck the halls with this plant.  Hollies have distinctive, crisp, green leaves in addition to bright red berries for that Christmas color scheme.  They are often used in hedges and can withstand heavy pruning.
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3.  Evergreen – These trees are commonly known as Christmas trees.  Spanning from a few inches to several dozen feet, these trees are the kind that decorated indoors with lights, tinsel, and much more.  However, those with a yard and a knack can plant their own.  In addition to evergreen trees, firs, pine trees, spruce, and others can also double as Christmas trees.
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4.  Mistletoe – Known as the kissing plant, what holiday would be complete without one?  Usually joined together in a bunch and hung over a doorway, mistletoe is actually a semi-parasitic plant and grows on the branches of various host trees.  A little known fact is that in the first days of mistletoe kissing, a berry would be plucked for each kiss until they were all gone. 
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5.  Christmas Cactus – The plant earned its name for a reason.  Not a traditional cactus in the spiked sense, this plant almost looks like a fern with pink flowers growing on it.  Another plus of the Christmas cactus is its low maintenance. 
©Petra Voegtle

6.  Laurel – These shrubs are relatives of azaleas and are best known for their white flowers.  It is a broadleaf evergreen commonly found in New England.  They are also commonly found as accents in Christmas wreaths.
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7.  Frankincense – One of the three gifts for Baby Jesus, many have heard of it, but few know what it is.  This herb is made from the Boswellia tree.  It is commonly burned during church masses and has a distinct smell.
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8.  Myrrh – Like the above, this is also one of the gifts the three wisemen brought for Christmas.  It is from the Commiphora myrrha tree.  It is also used as incense burned during church ceremonies.  It is also used as an antiseptic in mouthwashes and toothpastes.
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Brianna Davis keeps up the site Bachelors of Arts Schools. Her site helps students find the right college to get a degree in the arts.


Sunday, November 13, 2011

Some more Emergencies among our Balcony Pigeons

We had a new outbreak of PMV among our balcony pigeons - so most of my time went into treating them as far as this was possible. So no time again for blogging. Only one young pigeon girl, our Micky,  had to be hospitalized because her symptoms were quite heavy: stargazing, trembling, circling and last not least she could not eat any more by herself. With her last energy she fortunately landed on our balcony so that I could take her in immediately. She soon also lost her ability to fly. So this would have been her certain death sentence if left outside.

In the meanwhile the sick ones outside are nearly recovered (with the help of carrot juice) - apparently this time thank heaven it was a weaker strain of PMV - only our Micky will need some time still to regain her abilities. Currently she still has to be handfed 3 times a day and her digestion works very well which helps a lot with her recovery. She is such a sweet and obedient patient...

I hope that this baby can fly soon again and enjoy her life as she is supposed to...

Thursday, November 3, 2011

What Walls are meant for...

A lovely room, extremely spacious, with a gorgeous terrace, a great city view and a large wall. A large wall? Why on earth would one choose two tiny pictures which are even partially hidden or overpowered by lamps?
There is so much art out there that positively cries for a place like this one. I would have had a nice option...

What strikes me most in this room are the warm colours which turn the space into a cozy place. Without being too reminiscent of an old farmhouse the wooden beams add only some accents to a modern environment. And then I would have chosen this artwork for the wall above the bed:

Originally this is a silk scroll, painted and hand beaded with hundreds of small glass beads which sparkle in artificial light. But you could also remove the upper and lower part of this scroll and mounted horizontally in a sophisticated frame as shown in the photo below.

55" x 23", silk scroll

©Petra Voegtle
Instead of the original silk scroll I can make this scroll available as a fine art print on heavy cotton canvas in my Etsy Shop in nearly any size.

The image part of the silk scroll contains hundreds of tiny glass beads which were hand sewn and which imitate the tiny crystals within an agate geode.
The image has been inspired by real agates and is therefore a kind of blown-up imitation. The clear glass beads will reflect the light the same way as the tiny quartz crystals. The mother-of-pearl pigments in the silk paint heighten the gloss of various light parts in order to imitate the creamy white calcite parts you would find in nearly any agate.

Here are some details of the original silk scroll:

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