Sunday, August 26, 2012

Passionflower Power

The passionflowers have arrived.  Just as the garden takes a deep sigh and exhales its last breath of summer, these tiny green tendrils emerge, twirling  over the most desolate places and creating a bright new landscape dotted with a glorious sight …  passionflowers!

You just have to get up close and personal to appreciate one of these flowers. 

Out of the most barren patches of dry ground, these magnificent flowers bloom. And it’s not just an ordinary blooming.  It’s a royal entrance. From utter wastelands they lift their regal crowns and extend a scepter of beauty all over the garden.  It’s a total transformation.

They're a reminder of the total transformation that waits for us, regardless of how rough and rocky the landscape of our lives have been.
It’s a covering of love from God that overshadows the entire terrain of our lives and turns ashes to beauty.

So, let our little passionflower, with her head lifted up, encourage you to lift your head up today.  Listen to these words of promise that can turn your wastelands into gardens of beauty...and just brace yourself for the total trans formation that will come.

God will give you  “a crown of beauty instead of ashes” and “crown you with love and tender mercies.”  Isaiah 61:3 and Psalms 103:4

Wearing our crowns,
The Velvet Lime Girls

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Louisiana Lagniappe

Down in Louisiana there’s a unique word that describes the feeling of having more than enough, extra, or an unexpected gift. It’s called lagniappe (lan-yap).

 Like an extra helping of deep rich, roux gravy on mashed potatoes, extra shrimp in your gumbo, or a little more cream in your coffee, this word just seems to capture the joy of occasionally going overboard with something good. That’s exactly how we felt when we saw these photos from Laura’s recent Louisiana trip. It’s a design lagniappe of sorts, filled with more than enough inspiration to keep us creating for a while!

We’ll be using some of these fabulous design inspirations in upcoming artwork.  In the meantime, we’ll just have to dream of these steamy cups of cafĂ© au lait and mounds of beignets topped with snowy caps of powered sugar. 


So, fix yourself the strongest cup of coffee you can make and enjoy a little visual lagniappe with us today as we take a trip down south, just outside of New Orleans, through Laura’s travel notes and photos...

        Up at sunrise to go “birding” in the Bluebonnet Swamp with James and my brother-in-law, Robert McLaughlin III.  Robert is an avid birder, historian and storyteller of Louisiana history and culture and his invitation to this swamp was one of the highlights of our trip! The swamp is part of the Bluebonnet Swamp Nature Center, a 103 acre paradise right in the heart of the busy city of Baton Rouge.

The birds were shy, but the wildflowers put on a show.

                                       Found this weathered bee box near the swamp,

                                          these mushrooms having a party on a log

                                                and two precious cardinal bird eggs. 
                                         Could have stayed all day in the swamp ...

 but, a little tour of homes and sites was waiting.

    Love the whimsical color combinations on this  home.                                 
the magnificent boughs of this ancient oak tree

                                             and soft Spanish moss swaying in the breeze,

                                                          draping everything in sight.

                                           We had two little finales on this lagniappe day... 

                                                    trees with storybook pages of bark

and pink breezy flowers.


" For the beauty of the earth, for the beauty of the skies, ... this our grateful hymn of praise." 
                                                 Folliott Piermont ( 1835-1917)

 Savoring southern sites,
                           The Velvet Lime Girls

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Cherry Inspiration

The Rainier cherries brought a little sweet inspiration into our studio this week.  

These delicious cherries are in season  and when a beautiful bowl of them sat on our studio table we couldn’t resist photographing them. One in particular just seemed to be smiling a shiny smile that begged to be snapped up in a photo.

The photo led to further inspiration. Marybeth took one look at this bright faced fellow and broke out her dusty paints. He just had to be captured on canvas!  Here’s a peek at her first rough study that we’ll use as inspiration for upcoming artwork.  It’s a nice reminder that inspiration really is everywhere!

This simple photo has started a new movement in our studios.  We’ve been pulling out our sketchpads, watercolors, pastels and paints.  All because of a little cherry!

These delicate, soft blushing cherries are sweet reminders of how one creative idea often generates another creative idea.  A photograph initiated this little painting, but the original inspiration came from the Creator himself.  And a bowl of His freshly picked cherries is a sweet reminder of just how creative God really is.

  Right down to the last freckle faced cherry.

“…the whole earth is full of His shining-greatness.”  Isaiah 6:3

Nibbling on cherries,
                    The Velvet Lime Girls