sign of spring

I always know it's May because the lilacs are blooming. Even though I lived in an apartment complex as a kid, and you wouldn't expect nice plantings, we had pretty nice landscaping. Including a big lilac bush in the green space behind our building.

My mother's birthday was May 18 and she could always count on a bouquet for that day and usually for Mother's Day, too. The bush was huge and I could pick armfuls and never make a dent in the blooms.

When I finally bought a house of my own I was happy to find a big lilac bush growing there. And under the bedroom window. On warm nights with the window open, their spicy scent fills the room.

Later, we took down a row of very ugly pine trees along the end of our property and replaced them with lilacs of various colors, including this deep plum with white outlined petals.

I picked some this afternoon and filled a vintage glass vase I bought last year. The photo was taken on my screened porch but they'll come inside tonight. It's going to be cold again; it was 34 degrees this morning!



mystery birds

I've recently gotten interested in needlepoint again, especially designs with birds. I scored these two vintage beauties on Ebay. Both are what's called pre-worked, meaning that the design is already completed in the center of the canvas, and the buyer fills in the background with a color of their choosing. I haven't decided that part yet!

The first has two red birds. The seller called them cardinals but clearly they're not; the female is too bright and they don't have pointed heads. This is a vintage Bucilla brand, which is a very common brand for needlepoint.

vintage needlepoint - red birds

The second one is my favorite; Madincor brand, made in Madeira, Portugal. And that was a clue in my search for the identity of the bird, which has unusual coloring and a very long beak. It's not North American! Can you guess?

vintage needlepoint - European Bee-Eater

It's a European Bee-Eater and you can see him in the following photo taken in Spain. Yes, they really do eat bees; they snatch them right out of the air.


I can't wait to get started on these and they're small so they should go quickly. The bee-eater is just 8" x 8", the red birds are a little larger at 13" x 13". I haven't found a local source for tapestry wool for the background so it looks like I'll be shopping for it online.