Catching Up Here On My Heart Blog About Life At Dragonfly Cottage…

First of all it’s best I introduce you to Phinneas and Mortimer lest they will never stop hollering and carrying on the whole time I write this entry…
Dear Ones, 

You must wonder by now if I’m ever going to do anything but write about other people and send a whole bunch of collages over to this blog. Well, I loved doing all of that but I am getting things back into balance a bit. You will still see the collages as they arrive because I just love them and want to share them with you. There will be long entries of an arty nature with the collages on the other blog, but just sharing the collages themselves are sharing an important aspect of my life as it evolves in these fast moving days of explosive creativity, the likes of which I have not experienced for long time… (15 years?)

I have had help in the Magic Ship Garden from pugs and mermaids and gnomes and fairies and the little people and a dear soul who helped plant over 500 daffodils last weekend. The above is the picture from Holland Bulb Farms of the mix I got in bulk in November at a close-out price of nearly 1/4 of the regular price. They will naturalize and that 500 will be thousands one day…
One of the reasons I’ve been slow to get here is that tiny Penny pug has taken to wanting to be on my person, hanging on to me like a baby koala bear, making typing go slowly and some of the words that come out as I type, pug on person, are absolutely hysterical and part of no language I’VE ever heard of. But I think she really does resemble a baby koala bear here…

And then there was the sad tale of the paper whites, heart-breaking but whattayagonnado? 
Ever since I was a young married woman I have potted up bulbs galore before Christmas to be “forced” inside over the winter. I have planted many kinds of bulbs but always LOTS of paper whites and the fragrance wafting through the house is one of the most glorious scents in the world to me. I planted well more than 50 altogether this year in three pots.


Just as they were reaching their glory with tons more blooms than you see above, my very best and dearest friend in the world who is here every single week came in asking what that horrendous smell was and I couldn’t imagine what he was talking about and he pushed his nose into the paper whites and consequently had such a horrendous allergic reaction he was sick for days and had to go to the doctor for some pretty heavy duty medicine. I felt so awful, and, as I carried all of my paper whites out onto the deck where I can at least sort of see them from my work table here, I was absolutely bereft. I had to open up all the windows in the house and air it out for a day or two before it was safe for him to come back, and I thought what a cruel twist of fate it was that for one person, whom I love dearly, but is only here once a week, I wouldn’t be able to have my beloved paper whites in my studio at all. I’ve been so depressed by it all. I know in the whole scheme of things this is peanuts, but it has been important to me for nearly 40 years. Has anyone out there experienced this or have any suggestions?

And the fall was all about redoing my kitchen and it now looks, in one person’s words who came in, “like a dollhouse.” I will get some pictures up very soon, I swear, but every time I think of taking them, like now, there are an unseemly amount of dirty dishes in the sink with cluttered counters and, well, it kind of takes the doll-housy effect and smashes it to smithereens! But, as everything was white, white, white in my kitchen, all of the cupboards were painted French Blue and Sun Yellow, new big cabinets built to attach to an old 1930’s cabinet that was completely falling apart and had to be restored and a whole new back put on (I am NOT one for painting old furniture other than cleaning and polishing it up, but this charming cabinet was nearly past repair) and a long L-shaped open cabinet was attached to it and then they were painted French Blue and a salmon orange. They butt up against the huge old worn wooden vintage booth I bought when I moved in that at some point had been painted blue, orange and a bit of yellow and it looks so great together! There were also narrow shelves put up all the way around the kitchen over the kitchen cabinets, stove and refrigerator up high that now are full of my vintage teapots and teacups and vintage what-nots and I must say it is positively charming. (Oh, and did I forget to say that the refrigerator and front of the dishwasher were painted persimmon orange? Ahem.)

Besides all of the above (and I got a little video camera so I can do a walkabout inside and out and show you more of the cottage and garden, as soon as I figure out how to work it. I’m still confused by the remote control. I admit it, I’m a luddite living in an electronic digital world and sometimes just dog-paddling in the stream of all of this technology!), I took one look around and got “that look” in my eyes. The guys who helped me said, “Oh no, what is she thinking up now?” I looked at them and said, (My poor dear proper mother is turning over in her grave as I write this.) “I think I’d like the ceiling painted a, oh, yes, that’s it! A pistachio green!” (There are bits of green in the design in the kitchen too and it matches.) And they looked at me and said, “But it’s all one… oh you’re kidding (I nodded No…) you want the whole ceiling in both rooms painted pistachio green? I glowed from ear to ear with childlike delight, and the ceilings that were all one were painted green ANDDDD it was Christmas time so as lights were aplenty and on sale cheap it was getting so late, I got lots of lights. My Christmas tree glowed a gorgeous blue, and I had — wait for it — a mega-ton of tiny green Christmas lights strung all around the ceiling in the kitchen and cozy room. It is so gorgeous, I just cannot tell you, glowing against the soft green ceiling, and they will stay up all the time. The Christmas tree is gone but the magic is still here. I lay curled up at night with the pugs and all the lights out and the room is aglow with a beautiful sea of twinkling green and it just leaves me breathless.

The guys said, “Nobody in Wilmington is gonna have a house like this.” I said, “Nobody in the world will probably be daft enough to do this!” Now I am in the process of having the old thin raggedy carpet taken out of the cozy room and my big studio with windows all the way around onto the woods and garden, and vinyl tiles put down. Not only does the carpet look bad, but when you take in several rescue pugs at once, lets just say it gets “fragrant” in here, soaks into the pad under the carpet, and even after steam cleaning it still smells and really isn’t healthy.  So the tiles are a bright sunny yellow with little speckles and between that yellow floor and the green ceiling that pine paneled room will be brightened up NO END! This is not to mention that my studio has pomegranate walls and a sky blue ceiling and wooden shelving put in all the way around the room up high and white LED lights were put all the way around the room tacked along the edge of the shelves. Somewhat unfortunately they are a little, well, LARGE for the effect I’d planned (but they are LED, cheap to run, and cool to the touch always…) but it kind of looks like Vegas in here. And just imagine that bright yellow floor, the pomegranate walls, the blue ceiling, the white Vegas lights, and oh, to soften the lighting I’m going to get little Christmas lights from a place you can get them year round that will be hung up and strung hanging between the bigger white lights.That will soften the look and bring more color in (Just when you thought I had too much already! Ha! Never!) This place has them in cool colors like pink and purple. Now just what color do you think I’ll choose in here? Ha ha ha. You’ll have to wait and see.
Okay, I know you can’t stand it. Betwixt and between the white lights that go all the way around the room up high will be PINK lights (They look big here but these are mini Christmas lights…) ~~~
And ~~~~~ TA DA!!!!!!
I found the most amazing little 7.5″ “Starlight Globes” with 100 lights each that are PURPLE and they will hang on the underside of the shelving, just over my old, old roll-top desk looking out onto the patio. They will be centered along the desk top length, spaced out to fit the outer window edges and wooden piece in the middle that separates the 2 windows. It will be positive DAZZLING in here at night when I’m working. Talk about inspiration!!!! Here are the purple starlight globes…

So now, while I wait for the lights and the flooring to come, I am sitting here in a sea of garden catalogs and books and planning the spring seed order. Oh, what fun! There were be plenty of vegetables, lots of herbs and tons of flowers. I am primarily an heirloom, cottage garden gardener, but this one will be growing in a very unusual arty setting which is ONLY getting started! I look and scrounge around and hunt out things from junk places, sides of the road, and just about anywhere for old, worn down, and charming things to put in the garden and it will definitely be an artist’s garden. These are some of the “bones” of the garden which you won’t be able to appreciate until mid-summer when the garden is lush with things growing in wild abandon. I’ll show you a few things and then better let you be lest you nod off and fall into your computer somewhere along the line…

The pink picket fence garden which needs to be a shade garden and will be worked on in a vast planting with things like hostas, bleeding hearts in pink and white and all manner of things. Those big pots have a beautiful pink mandevilla in both, light pink, not in bloom when I took these pictures mid November. Mandevilla is perennial here so they will come back and right now there are pots of daffodil bulbs sprouting on either side…

Albert, our mascot for “Loop-de-Loop Productions.” He hangs from
a white plastic chain and flys through the air. (Well, I mean you HAVE
to have a fish in a garden with a Magic Ship towering over the whole

The Magic Ship which I’m sure most of you have seen before. It came with the house but was in ghastly shape. Greying, rotted boards, things falling apart. Of course I had it restored by the above-mentioned fellas of mine, and once all restored and the staircase built up to it they said, (They didn’t know me well then. They soon got to!), “Do you want to paint it?” “Oh Yea.” What color?” Ahem. “Pink, purple and orange.” After they nearly fell off the ship in shock, realized I was serious, and got to painting it they started having great fun. Since they’ve gotten to know me these last 2 years nothing surprises them! And it’s a good thing because…

I had them paint the old beat up corrugated metal shed lime pink and bright cherry pink. By now nothing was going to surprise them, and they are my fellas whom I can count on to work miracles around here for me at prices I can afford and we all have such fun together!
There’s just SO much more I want to show you, but I believe I’ve run out of time and space and I hope you haven’t nodded off. You still need to see the OLD wooden mantelpiece that is nailed to the 6′ high privacy fence. That whole area will be charming. And the area with, so far, a long table, full of oversized teacups, and a lopsided bright green picture frame hanging on the fence over the table that is the beginning of a garden area that will be an homage to “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party.” And there’s a whole new bright green picket fence area for a cottage garden that gets sun with the fence built to protect from the pugs who will, en masse, pee on anything that looks like it might want to grow, and there’s the Magic Village just started with glass houses with roses and pansies growing in them (roofs are open front and back for air and rain), with gnomes, Buddha, dragonflies and more, and a very old rattan lamp with all the electrical wiring taken out bolted to the shed above for an old fashioned rose that will end up growing all over the building and will start  growing up the lamp! Here, okay, just a couple of pictures, and remember that you are looking at the bones of the garden in winter so it looks pretty barren….

Oh, and there’s just so much more…

Gardening goes on year round here at Dragonfly Cottage because between the planting, the growing season and tending of it all, things like putting in thirty roses grown from babies this year, I am on the hunt for the arty things to form the bones for garden interest.

One of the areas where roses are started from tiny little slips of things, or bands, own root and most heirloom. These were big enough that they were planted in the ground soon after, and now 18 more roses are wintering over in 4 of the above planters and all manner of pots. Life is never dull at Dragonfly Cottage!

Make this the year your resolutions come true!

Make this the year your resolutions come true!


  1. Entrecard is down, so i just leave a comment to let you know that i came here.

    “But i love the pink fench here. I wish we have a garden and i will also paint it pink.”

  2. Several years ago I decided to have a ‘white Christmas’ theme, I decorated with all white and force 100 paperwhites in beautiful twig baskets. Everything was lovely and magical…until my throat started to itch, my eyes watered and I lost my voice. All of those paperwhites had to go out on the porch. Ever since then I’ve been reacting to any strongly scented flower. I feel for you…and your friend!

  3. I always love your garden/cottage posts. Thanks for sharing.

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