Curious Lola

The Washington Coast and a new year.

What better way to celebrate the New Year than to freeze your booty off on Washington’s rainy, windy coast, right? Slogging through Northwest squish for so long that your feet reach new levels of pruney sounds like an excellent way to say goodbye to a year full of challenges and joys. We thought this but then again, meh, why not.  Truly there must be some joyous reward in all this miserable trekking. Lights through trees? Sea stars?

As it turns out, the entire trip along the 10 or so miles of the Ozette Triangle was a joy. Surprise, surprise. The Ozette Triangle is three segments of looped trail. the first leg through forest and wet meadow, the second along the beach, and the third back up through the forest. Not only did it not rain, the wind was at our backs, the sky was blue (a strange sight anywhere in Washington this time of year), and the temperature was downright pleasant. The trail is easy to walk with not a lot of grade change. Not sure if this beautiful day on the coast was a reward for slogging through 2011 or the forecast for a sunny 2012. Maybe both… probably both.

Deer Fern: Blechnum spicant

I love these happy, floppy ferns.

Confined, sheltered places into large a large open expanse… It has that light through the clouds- choir singing effect. Also one of my favorite design tricks to create a sense of arrival into specialness.

Evergreen Huckleberry: Vaccinium Ovatum

Seaweed is so cool. Unless it’s in the water touching you. Then it’s disgusting and scary. But here, interesting.

Heh, Triangle, get it?

dreamy.

and back up into the forest.

Sneaky mushroom

Soft white underbelly

 

And the lichen encrusted  bridge brings us back home.

Thank you Cedarbrook Lavender Farm for the stay in your lovely Vacation Rentals.

 

Christmas Decor in Franklin Tennessee- visiting the interior.

I grew up in varying locales on the west coast. I’ve traveled to varying locales on the east coast and varying locales out of the country. I’ve had the occasional trip to Las Vegas and Montana but for the most part, I don’t go to the interior. I’m a continental skirter. Like someone skirting around the perimeter of a party, trying to avoid the gropey, drunk santa in the middle of the room, I’m just really not all that interested in finding out what is going on there. The few hours spent at mid-continent airport hubs searching for food that is not sugar sauce soaked meat has left me with the general feeling of “…meh…”

That is until my beloved bro moved with his family of huggable ragamuffins to Franklin, Tennessee. I’ve been a few times and now love, love, love it.  One of the big delights? The people are so nice. Downright neighborly and helpful. Unbelievably more than keep-to-yourself- observe-and-assume Seattleites. Another delight? Decorating is kind of a big deal.  Here are a few decorations that caught my eye while walking down Main Street and around downtown Franklin.

Gallery 202 has an amazing display featuring luxurious swathes of fabric, and simple evergreen garlands adorned with lemon chains and antlers. Beautiful.

I squealed when I saw these velvet pumpkins with real stems at Avec Moi.

I love the comfy elegant feel of Lulu with this leaf garland made from old books, and a woven felt christmas tree.

This fruit wreath adorned someone’s house just outside of town. So lovely!

Pure Imagination

Hey, here’s some eye candy from the Pure Imagination event held last month in Tacoma.

Run by some of the same peeps that run the Tacoma Wedding Walk in February, this event was at the Thea Foss Working Waterfront Maritime Museum. When draped off, basically like a big beautiful warehouse with a ceiling that does wonderful things when drenched in light. This was the premiere for this event and it was magical. That means next year will be mind-blowing. Lola partnered with Sensorium Event Productions on this space and had help from Trendy Event Rentals and Olalla Production Solutions (do look into them).

Our space was a little challenging. It was skinny and long, and centered in the entire event space. Our theme was to have a groom’s side and a bride’s side- or a more masculine side and a softer side. Guests would walk into the space and see our spot first. So it kinda had to be cool- and somehow coherent. Lola pulled the two spaced together with two tables mirrored and offset into the center of the ‘booth’. Gobs of purple fabric was billowed into a bustle toward the fiery side, and the fiery side, billowed lava-like folds, and gobs of red roses petals toward the soft side.

They were further pulled together with a backdrop made of paper garlands. Super rad and easy.

Each side had its own custom made chandelier (ehem, by yours truly). They were my favorite parts. The drippy fabric chandelier that looks like a sea creature is actually a grey to white ombre effect. A little lost here, but in the future I will use a bolder color transition for a more successful effect. The best part for you? We are expanding our inventory and color choices for these chandeliers to rent to your for your event. Ditto for the fiery branch mass that also looks like a sea creature.

And on the purple side we had multi height arrangements as well as low arrangements on tables and cocktail tables. Flowers included lush, bold orchids, roses, ranunculus, beautyberry, amaranthus, fringe tipped tulips, dahlias, purple anemone, and dusty miller.

The groom’s side? Textural, moody and fiery. And this crazy, fiery mass of branches.

Flowers for the fellas included parrot tulips, burgundy gerberas, ranunculus, and red garden roses.

 

Terrifying Plants.

They will eat you alive….

Not really but they look like they could.

Last month, I spent an afternoon ogling the weird plants inside San Francisco’s Conservatory of Flowers. They were showing a ‘Wicked Plants’ exhibit based on the book by Amy Stewart of the same name. I highly recommend it. Surprisingly, the plants that could seriously do some damage didn’t look all that harmless… perhaps part of their wickedness. Most of the truly scary plants resided in the non-wicked rooms of the conservatory, and since their descriptions were underwhelming in scariness, I’ve devised some alternate stories about these plants. I think you’ll find that their descriptions fit much better with their strange, sometimes scary appearance.

First…. The Fuzz.

Like its form suggests, the fuzz is a slow-moving blob that resided in the Northwestern rainforests of this state. It relies on its prey to be incapacitated in some way, which allows it to take its time to devour the body (typically hikers and clumsy elk). The truly horrifying bit about this plant is that it is actually a mass of thousands of writhing individual strands. Each is alive. Each has its own agenda. Each is bound to its neighbor in a symbiotic relationship that allows it to feed on larger prey and protect itself from larger predators (such as a bird). Each little, individual doesn’t always agree with its neighbor. For this reason, most of the time The Fuzz just hangs out on branches because it can’t come to consensus. The exception is feeding time. The mass crawls slowly toward the fallen. Each tendril reaches out and grasps, clings and rubs, and sucks against the ground, each other, and eventually the prey. Each tendril slowly bores and digests its prey.

Next is the Tortoise Plant…

There is something terrible about coming to a slow demise. Like The Fuzz, the Tortoise Plant is also equipped to eat you very very slowly. Positioned near quick sand bogs, this plant has a feeding sac covered with scaly bark. In this sac, parts of you are slowly digested and your body is converted to energy and stored here for the plant to use at will. This is a wonderful survival feat considering not too many humans are unlucky enough to fall into a quick sand bog. Under the sac, the rest of your body hangs in the quick sand and is preserved by the low oxygen and low light environment. As more of you becomes needed, you are sucked into the feeding sac. It is said that one average adult can take up to three years to be completely digested. The Tortoise Plant has come onto the threatened species list in the last few decades because it cannot easily digest the synthetic fabrics in use today. So, when walking through the quick sand bogs, be sure to wear gortex, fleece. or your mom’s polyester blouses. If you, by chance, come to this sandy end, you will at least be diminishing the likelihood that someone else would come to the same demise.

Bat Flower…

This plant is definitely the most scary looking of all the plants at the conservatory. Unlike the other flowers, this flower only wants the grey matter in your brain. Its perfume is intoxicating, debilitating, and mind numbing. Its aroma sends its prey into a sort of trance. Bewildered, you would find yourself kneeling in front of the Bat Flower. The Bat flower leans toward the head and uses its feelers to probe the skull (because it doesn’t have eyes… flowers don’t have eyeballs). Once it finds your facial orifices, temples, and other soft spots, it’s feelers puncture your head and suck out parts of your brain leaving you lying at the base of the plant with a raisin head.

Victorian Lily…

These pads are gigantic and are said to be strong enough to hold up an adult human. Unfortunately for some curious individuals that would test this fact, there is a subset of cousins that want to eat you. While stepping across the pads, the harmless ones gently give under your weight as you hop from pad to pad. Step on the wrong pad, however and SLURP, you’re gone. The pad immediately gives out, the sides reach up over your head, the sticky walls slap onto the top of your head, and you are pulled under before any of your friends even know you’re gone. Silent and quick.

The Coral Medinilla

Ever be walking through the forest and get a spider web in the face? Sucks huh?  How about an array of stinging arms that melt out your eyeballs?

Well, then watch out for the Coral Medinilla. Its bright red arms of poison look like something you’d want to stay away from. The plant knows this and has developed retractable leaves that pull back sharply to passersby. The stinging arms emerge quickly and jab melting acid into your eyes. The truly terrible part is that the plant doesn’t want to eat you. It gets all its nutrients from the soil. It’s just very territorial. However, even though this plant won’t kill you, it’s hard to get out of the forest with melted eyes and typically, The Fuzz will find you before you are saved.

Gigantic Pitcher Plant…

Down in a hole? Legs disintegrating into botanical ooze? Yes. Horrifying indeed. Human sized pitcher plants are a terrifying trap to fall into. The slippery sides prevent your escape and just end up wearing you out. Even if you were to scramble to the top, the pitcher lid bops you on the head, dropping you back into the hole. If you should find yourself in this painful predicament, be sure to hold your arms over your head. While you will definitely lose your legs, your only chance for survival is that someone will drop you a rope and you will need your arms to pull you out. You can’t hold onto the rope if both your arms and legs are gone.

Under this grate is where the conservatory keeps the plant food…

Maybe you should stick to the sidewalk this Halloween.

Botanic Garden Part II: Garden Party Table Arrangement.

I fell in love with plaster during my anxious days as a sculpture and landscape architecture student. Besides the obvious uses to cast things, I love using it as a medium for paints and pigments, a crusty glue, and my go-to material to give my hands that 25 years-older dried out look. Lovely. This table top was inspired by some plaster fabric botanical forms I made for something else (that didn’t work out). We worked them into this rustic, table top piece with sculptural plants and vintage rentals (chairs, glasses, and plates) from Vintage Ambiance. This table, like the previous post: “Goodfellow’s Stylish Grey Lady” was part of the University of Washington’s First Annual Vendor Showcase for the Botanic Gardens.

And just like before, photos here are by Red Sparrow Photography.

Yay.

I loved these bricks so much I ended up using them for my wedding too!

Succulents, sedum, and scabiosa!

Doilies, linen, and burlap

The prickly thing is Acanthus spinosus!

Fuzzy moss.

Nigella pods/ Love in a Mist- so cool.

‘Little Bunny’ Pennisetum grass.

By the way, all the plants shown are local and organically grown. Yay!

Thanks!










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