Wednesday, November 30, 2016

#collectandstyle - November Monthly Favorite

OandYStudio, Andrea from OandYStudio, hoop art, wool hoop art, handmade hoop art, handmade wool hoop art, transferware, blue flow transferware, vintage flow transferware, vintage blue flow transferware

Hello everyone, and thank you for visiting Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog! I'm so excited that you're here, and thrilled to introduce you to this month's #collectandstyle Monthly Favorite: Andy of oandystudio!

As you can tell from the image above, Andrea Brinkley is both a collector of vintage blue and white china ware, and also a master fiber artist. Andrea creates one-of-a-kind hand embroidered wool art, or 'stitch painting' as she likes to call it, featuring botanicals and flowers.

She had posted an image at #collectandstyle a few months ago of a very unique blue and white teacup and saucer set that she had given to her mom when Andy was fourteen. I immediately was taken by how she had connected a lovely story from her past, to her current love of collecting blue and white china:

#ihavethisthingwithblueandwhite, blue and white teacup and saucer, O&Y Studio, Andrea Brinkley of O&Y Studio, vintage blue and white teacup and saucer

Since that time, I've enjoyed seeing more of Andy's images of her beautifully styled blue and white china ware, along with her delicious looking French tarts, flowers, and the landscape and scenery surrounding her adopted town in North Carolina (Andy is from South Africa). Then, I noticed a shift in focus, and with this image, Andy began talking about how she is intentionally working at fulfilling a creative dream:

O&Y Studio wool fiber art, wool fiber art by O&Y Studio, oandystudio on Instagram

When Andy posted the above image, she wrote:

"For several years I've been writing down ideas and aspirations in my Big Ideas notebook. I have let many interruptions (big ones like illness and a wedding and small ones too mundane to mention) delay my goals. With much prodding, love and encouragement, I am happy to say I've been making a good start lately. I'll be sure to keep you posted."

And in just the past couple of months, BOOM! - Andy opened her Etsy shop, oandystudio, and has been hard at work, stocking it full of her gorgeous original hoop embroidery designs such as the first image you saw at the top of this post.

Do you find this story inspiring? Do you have a creative dream? My feeling is that for all of us women in the creative community, there is a lot of value in watching another's dream come true. It can inspire us to take up challenges we have set for ourselves, to inspire others, and to work to lift one another up.

I plan on continuing to follow Andy on her creative adventures, both on Instagram and on Etsy and I hope you will too! You can also find Andy on her website oandystudio.com, and on Facebook.

And don't forget, if you are looking for a unique gift for someone special (or for yourself!), I'm sure Andy would be happy to help you choose just the right hoop embroidered floral or botanical wool art piece, lovingly handmade in North Carolina!

Thank you for joining me for the #collectandstyle November Monthly Favorite! And if you would like to know more, and how to join in on all of the fun, please visit my blog post, Collect And Style, A New Instagram Hashtag, right here at Under The Plum Blossom Tree.



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Saturday, November 19, 2016

Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden, The Flat Garden at Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Oregon Japanese Garden, hira niwa, sea of raked sand, sake cup, gourd-shaped bottle, Circle Island, Gourd Island

As the days here in the Willamette Valley of Oregon passed from late summer into early autumn, the leaves on the trees in our yard and in our town began to turn from bright green to tinges of yellow. Then, mid autumn came, with its brightly colored orange, gold and red tones, and the change in season brought with it an enthusiastic desire for adventure.

The Portland Japanese Garden, with its spectacular display of autumnal colors, quiet inviting mood and powerful meditative symbolism, was the destination of choice for James and I on a recent Saturday. The Flat Garden, or hira niwa, shown above, is one of five garden areas in the 5.5 acre park, located within Washington Park.

The Flat Garden is a dry landscape style garden, where the design is a purposeful balance between the ground plane and the volume of stones and clipped shrubbery, creating a sense of depth of space. This living sculpture features a sea of raked sand which suggests water, while mountains and hills are depicted in the shapes of azalea shrubs.

Portland Japanese Garden, The Flat Garden at Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Oregon Japanese Garden, hira niwa, sea of raked sand, sake cup, gourd-shaped bottle, Circle Island, Gourd Island

Through a series of extended pathways, one can meander throughout the entire park, viewing the various stone, water and plant elements in all their glorious landscape-style interpretations.

So join us for a moment and catch a glimpse into this magnificent garden, proclaimed by His Excellency Nobuo Matsunaga, former Ambassador of Japan to the United States, "the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan."

One of the first sights to behold when entering the park is an antique 5-tiered stone pagoda lantern that was given to the city of Portland by its sister city Sapporo, Japan.

Portland Japanese Garden, antique 5-tiered stone pagoda lantern, autumn Portland Japanese Garden, Portland Japanese Garden in Autumn

And in the Lower Pond area of the Strolling Pond Garden, or chisen kaiya shiki niwa, are a pair of stone cranes, symbols of longevity.

Lower Pond of the Strolling Pond Garden Portland Japanese Garden, stone cranes in Portland Japanese Garden
  
A ceremonial Tea House, called Kashin-Tei, or Flower Heart House, is located in the Tea Garden and was created in Japan by master craftsmen using wooden pegs in the traditional Japanese style, and reassembled at the Portland Japanese Garden.

Portland Japanese Garden Kashin-Tie, Portland Japanese Garden Flower Heart House, Portland Japanese Garden Tea Garden

There are at least two machiai style meditation shelters - this one was near Kashin-Tei.

Portland Japanese Garden machiai shelter, meditation shelter at Portland Japanese Garden

And of course a blazing Japanese Maple tree just beginning to lose its autumnal leaves.

Autumn colored Japanese Maple at Portland Japanese Garden, Japanese Maple tree Portland Japanese Garden
Autumn colored Japanese Maple at Portland Japanese Garden, Japanese Maple tree Portland Japanese Garden

Another stone lantern. This one was next to another machiai shelter.

stone lantern Portland Japanese Garden

It was a surprise to see this beautiful 'living topography' sculpture by Anne Crumpacker.

Sculpture in Portland Japanese Garden

Ponds, streams, and waterfalls all play a significant role in the Japanese garden. Another type of water feature is the water filled basin. The first one shown below is mechanical in that when a section of the lower bamboo piece on the right gets filled with water from the higher bamboo stalk on the left, the weight of the water pulls it down and it then releases the collected water, after which it quickly springs back up into its original position.

water basin Portland Japanese Garden
water basin Portland Japanese Garden

Zoki no niwa, or the Natural Garden, is an informal garden with streams that meander under small bridges. James is standing on one of them while he concentrates on his photography, in this case taking a picture as I walked over a stone path bridge.

James Aoyama in Natural Garden at Portland Japanese Garden
June Anderson in Natural Garden at Portland Japanese Garden

A leaf composition taken in the Natural Garden.

Natural Garden Portland Japanese Garden

And one more stone lantern.

leaf composition by June Anderson at Portland Japanese Garden

Karesansui, or Sand and Stone Garden is another example of the dry landscape garden style, expressing the beauty of blank space, or yohaku no bi. Weathered stones rise up from a bed of sand raked to suggest the sea.

Sand and Stone Garden Portland Japanese Garden
Sand and Stone Garden Portland Japanese Garden

Also featured along one wall of the Sand and Stone garden is a lovely stand of bamboo.

bamboo at Portland Japanese Garden
bamboo at Portland Japanese Garden
bamboo at Portland Japanese Garden

From this vantage point, as James and I stood under a Japanese Maple at the Pavilion Gallery, we could see Mt Hood, which in this setting is very reminiscent of Mt Fuji, in the distance.

Japanese Maple Leaves Portland Japanese Garden
Mount Hood as seen from Portland Japanese Garden

As we walked back to see the antique 5-tiered pagoda one more time before leaving, this striking scene caught my eye.

autumnal scene Portland Japanese Garden
autumnal scene Portland Japanese Garden

Our last stop was the gift shop, where I was taken with how the colors of this koi banner hanging just outside of the shop were delightfully similar to the colors in the leaves of the trees behind it.

koi banner Portland Japanese Garden
  
Thank you for strolling along these beautiful and intriguing garden paths in the Portland Japanese Garden with me. To see even more beautiful images of our day in this wonderful setting, you may like to go to James' blog, Origami Night Lamp.

June Anderson of Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog at Portland Japanese Garden

Oh, and one last thing! One of the highlights of the Lower Pond is to stand on the Zig Zag Bridge and watch as graceful koi swim to and fro - a beautiful and mesmerizing sight to behold!

June Anderson at Portland Japanese Garden



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Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Vintage Tea Treasures: An Etsy Shop Update

Vintage W.T. Copeland & Sons Abbey Ruins Transferware Teacup and Saucer Sets, Antique Haviland CFH GDM France Limoges white with gold trim teacup, vintage Price Bros white with painted gold lustre grapevine leaf teapot

Hello everyone! Just a quick post to bring you up to date on the latest vintage and antique items listed in my Etsy shop Vintage Tea Treasures.

• Four antique W.T. Copeland & Sons 'Abbey Ruins' transferware teacup and saucer sets.

• A vintage Price Bros octagon-shaped teapot with a painted gold lustre grapevine leaf pattern and gold gilded trim.

• Antique Tressemann & Vogt (T & V) France Limoges white teacups with gold trim and gold painted handles and feet. Shown are two of four available. I also have six of the exact same teacup marked CFH GDM (Haviland), for a total of ten gorgeous Victorian era teacups!

If you have a desire to own some pretty vintage or antique tableware for the upcoming holidays or are looking for a gift for someone special, perhaps you'd enjoy visiting Vintage Tea Treasures at Etsy, where you can find all the details about the above items, and see even more 'Classic Teatime China Ware' listed for sale.

Thank you, and have a wonderful week!

  
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Saturday, October 29, 2016

Urban Foraged Autumn Apple Pie

Autumn Apple Pie, apple pie, urban foragiing, forage, fresh apple pie, decorative pie crust, lattice pie crust, Fiestaware, turquoise Fiestaware pie plate, Fiestaware plates, Oneida Fiestaware turquois, Fiestaware tangerine, Fiestaware shamrock, Fiestaware scarlet, Onieda silverware

There was a time in America when small towns were just that - small. These were rural places surrounded by farms which fed their communities, and where those that lived in town would have gardens on their properties and in their backyards. If someone wanted to make an apple pie, all you would have to do is walk outside to your field or garden, pick some apples, and make a pie.

Of course we all know how that all changed with industrialization, and how those small towns turned into small cities and then into even larger cities that become unrecognizable to anyone born and raised in the earlier, semi-rural environments. The farms became housing developments and shopping centers, and the backyard gardens went by the wayside.

I live in such a city.

But there are places around our city where remnants of that old way of life are still visible. We may be driving somewhere and pass an open field, and just by the placement of a group of trees, it's obvious that there used to be a farmhouse tucked amongst those trees. Sometimes we'll see traces of an old house foundation surrounded by a large field, or even houses completely caved in and nearly swallowed up by blackberry vines!

A few weeks ago James and I were driving in a part of town we hardly ever go to, and as we passed by a shopping center, my eyes lit up! There it was - an old green apple tree, long forgotten, growing right on the fence line between a parking lot and an old farmhouse.

I convinced James that we had to turn around and go check out that apple tree. And sure enough there were ripe apples just falling off the tree. James found a grocery bag in the car and there I was in high heels and a skirt, shuffling through layers of ivy growing all around the base of the tree, picking apples. James held the bag for me and also helped me pick the apples. 

I don't know why, but sour green apples from old trees make the best pies.

And the best pie crust is made with butter. My favorite pie crust recipe is this Pate Brisee from Martha Stewart.

For the filling, peel, then cut tart green apples into bite sized pieces and add a small amount of sugar - about 1/4 cup, and a lot of cinnamon! A sure fire way to know the right quantity of apples to use is to put the cut apple pieces into an empty pie pan until you've filled it a bit over the brim. Remove them from the pie pan and place in a bowl. Add the sugar and cinnamon and toss to combine. Roll out your chilled pie dough and place in the pie pan. Add the apples. Fancy up your top crust and bake for 40 minutes to an hour at 350 degrees.

Let cool and then, dig in and enjoy!

  
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#collectandstyle - October Monthly Favorite

Emily Quinton, Makelight blog, collect, style, October, autumn still life, autumn botanical still life, Makelight Studio,

Happy October #collectandstyle community! Thank you for visiting Under The Plum Blossom Tree blog. I am beyond excited to share this month's Instagram #collectandstyle Monthly Favorite with you.

In her photograph above, Emily Quinton shares with us a view of her creative workspace, decorated with a number of inspiring items - natural botanicals, photos, and various interesting paper ephemera. In all, she has created a wonderful autumnal mood in her studio.

If you have not yet been introduced to Emily Quinton, you are indeed in for a treat! In her fabulous blog Makelight, along with a whole lot more, Emily imparts her philosophy on how to collect, style and photograph interesting things; especially those items we'd like to share in our own blogs and other social media. Her ideas on how to do all of this are a helpful guide to learning and practicing the skills needed to accomplish our own goals. She also shows us how to express personal meaning and story telling in visual form. This resonates deeply with many of us who are looking for creative ways to share what we love in meaningful ways.

A very good example is her video Styling With Prop Boxes, in which Emily explains her idea of keeping a mini prop bag or box, filled with a gathering of favorite items that are alike in color. She explains that having similar items assembled and at the ready, can contribute greatly to using our photography time wisely. Emily walks us through the variety of items she keeps in her own prop bag, and then shares several images she created using those items.

And in Styling A Flatlay Emily walks us through her process of using the items from her prop bag to create flay lay images, sharing several expert tips, suggestions, and finally, her inspiring photographs.

For more examples of the items Emily gathered for a winter prop box, and ideas to keep you inspired during the upcoming dark months, you might like January's Prop Box

Many of us have also been inspired by Emily's flower images, especially on her Instagram feed. If you are interested in learning about flower photography, you may like Photographing Flowers - Hydrangea or A Hundred Photos From One Bouquet. And speaking of Emily's Instagram, you might say that one of Emily's great claims to fame is her weekly hashtag #floralfridaycompetition. With thousands of images already shared, it's a welcoming community of flower loving photographers from all over the world. Please do join in - you can post your images any day of the week, with Friday being the most popular day for posting. And if you love Pinterest, you'll find Emily there as well; with almost 100 pin boards and nearly 10,000 images there is plenty of inspiration!

For anyone who might want to take an online or in-person professional educational course, Emily has plenty of those to offer as well. Emily's course offerings are for both beginners and the more advanced, in subjects such as food, makers, street photography, tech, and Instagram. For all the details, her current offerings, and a free 'Taster Course', visit Emily on Makelight!

Thank you for joining me today for the #collectandstyle October Monthly Favorite image. I hope you will join Emily in her adventures in styling and photography.

And if you would like to participate in my own Instagram hashtag project #collectandstyle, I would love to see you there! Click here for all the details on how to join in.


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Sunday, October 23, 2016

Vintage Finds: Colorful Roosters!

vintage California pottery, vintage pottery made in California, vintage made in California orange rooster wall pocket, vintage rooster wall pocket, vintage wall pocket, vintage Norcrest battling roosters, pair of vintage Norcrest rooster wall hangings, 2 vintage Norcrest rooster wall hangings, two vintage Norcrest multicolored rooster wall hangings

Hi Friends! Here in Oregon, we've already had the change of seasons, and it's been cloudy and grey and raining for over a week straight, so let's have fun with some rich autumnal colors and tones, to balance it all out. October's Vintage Finds is a colorful rooster theme; a pair of Norcrest ceramic wall hangings on the left are a recent find while the large orange California pottery wall pocket rooster was purchased awhile back. Although very different in style, shape, color and manufacturer, the subject matter is quite interestingly similar.

Once upon a time here in the United States, decorative household ceramics production were very popular, a trend beginning in the 1930s and lasting through the 1960s. During that time, Los Angeles, California was the largest center for makers of colorful ceramics, with as many as 300 manufacturers in those early years. After World War II began, imports from Europe and Asia were discontinued, and the California ceramics industry reached its pinnacle in the post war era with over 800 small family and larger company businesses in existence. In the 1950s the US began importing ceramic wares again, leading to a decline in the number of California potteries. Sadly, only a few have survived into the 21st century. 

No doubt, this abstract orange rooster was made during the post war heyday of the California pottery makers. It bears an impressed stamp that says 'Made in Calif. USA' along with three letters which are hard to read. It looks like 'CHP' - California something Pottery? What attracted me to this rooster was its modern abstract design, and the fact that it functions as a wall pocket, which allows for some fun floral arranging, resulting in a captivating statement piece!

vintage made in California abstract orange rooster wall pocket

Norcrest China Company has its roots right here in the state of Oregon. The story begins with Hide and Fukiye Naito, who emigrated to America in 1912 from Tara, Japan, a farming community near Tokyo. The couple had two children, Bill and Sam, both born in Oregon. 

In 1920, Hide opened a Japanese imports shop on Washington Street in Portland, selling Japanese goods to the general population, which was considered unconventional at the time because Japanese owned businesses were usually only located in Japan-town, and sold their goods to other Japanese. When the Depression hit, Hide's business savvy was in full gear, running a variety of different small businesses, while at the same time expanding the import business. In 1938 Mr Naito opened an import warehouse in Portland, which at the time was a major West Coast seaport. 

Once the United States entered into World War II, Japanese families, including the Naitos, were forced to give up their homes and businesses and were relocated to internment camps in various isolated areas around the western interior. Although the Naito family was scheduled to go to one of these camps, they were instead allowed permission to go to Utah and live with family.

After the war, the Naito family returned to Portland, and Hide and his son Sam reestablished their family business, which became known as Norcrest China Company. Interestingly, one of the ways in which Sam worked to reestablish their business was to bring pottery up to Oregon from California, most likely sourced  from those very same pottery concerns from which my abstract orange rooster came from! The family continued importing goods from Japan, and due to popular demand for English tea ware, they also began importing bone china teacups and saucers from the United Kingdom.

In the 1960s Hide's son Bill expanded Norcrest China Company into several other businesses, including the "Made In Oregon" retail stores and Import Plaza. These holdings allowed the Naitos to invest in Portland's run-down area then known as "Skid Road", revitalizing the district that they then renamed Old Town. Bill's son Bob joined his father after finishing college, and together they worked on other historic development projects in the Portland area. Bill Naito died in 1996 and Bob has carried on his fathers legacy of historic preservation and sustainable development.    
Considering the humble beginnings this pair of Norcrest stylized dueling roosters represent, I've come to appreciate their striking dynamic appearance, kitschey energetic design and rich color palette even more. I'm already very fond of Japanese vintage collectables, and now look forward to finding additional Norcrest pieces.
  
Norcrest China Company, vintage Norcrest China Company, vintage Norcrest roosters, pair of vintage Norcrest roosters, vintage Norcrest China Company roosters, two vintage Norcrest China Company roosters

Thank you for letting me share my favorite vintage finds. See you next month! 
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Friday, October 7, 2016

Vintage Tea Treasures: An Etsy Shop Update

Johnson Bros tea set, Johnson Bros pottery, vintage tea set, Johnson Bros vintage tea set, Johnson Bros Greydawn, Johnson Bros vintage Greydawn teacups, Johnson Bros vintage Greydawn tea saucers, Johnson Bros vintage Greydawn plates, Gibsons teapot, Gibsons white teapot with red lilies and gold gilding, Gibsons vintage teapot, Gibsons vintage lily teapot, Gibsons English teapot, Regency vintage teacup and saucer, Regency vintage bone china teacup and saucer, Regency vintage scalloped teacup and saucer, Regency vintage rose bouquet teacup and saucer, vintage tea party, vintage tea set

Hi friends! Just a quick update on a few of the items recently listed in my new Etsy shop, Vintage Tea Treasures; a four place tea set of Johnson Bros teacups, saucers, and cake plates, a Regency bone china teacup and saucer, and a Gibsons teapot. They are all beautiful, vintage English tea ware.

• The Johnson Bros tea set consists of four teacups, four saucers and four cake plates, all in Johnson's lovely Greydawn color, which is a pastel sky blue.

• The Regency teacup and saucer set both feature a repeated pattern of rose bouquets, and the saucer has understated edge scalloping.

• The Gibsons teapot has a distinctively styled spiral fluted body and lid, with a delicate spray of red lilies on the front and the back.

Both the Regency teacup set and the Gibsons teapot are embellished in gold gilding. 

If you would like to know more about these items, including detailed descriptions, sizes and condition, please visit Vintage Tea Treasures on Etsy! And if you have any questions, I'm happy to help. You can leave a comment here, or in the shop.

Thank you for visiting my shop, and while you're there, I hope you will consider showing Etsy you support Vintage Tea Treasures, by "liking" or "favoriting" an item, or clicking on the 'Favorite shop' button. Thanks again!




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