March 20, 2011

Studio Space and Prairie Thistle Life

I have a confession, I love to get up before dawn, snuggle into my favorite chair with my pups, Angus and Molly, and a steaming cup of very strong coffee to write another posting for my Prairie Thistle Life blog.

Did I ever tell you why I chose Prairie Thistle Life as the title for my blog?  It goes something like this... My ancestors were Scottish, I have loved Joan of Arc since I was a little girl and I live in the prairie lands.  That's the simple explanation.

In the language of flowers, the thistle (like the burr) is an ancient Celtic symbol of nobility of character as well as of birth, for the wounding or provocation of a thistle yields punishment. For this reason the thistle is the symbol of the Order of the Thistle, a high chivalric order of Scotland.  The thistle is the national flower of Scotland.  It's kind of a "Don't Mess With Us" symbol of the feisty Scottish.

Joan of Arc was from the Order of the Thistle which was a symbol of the strong alliance between Scotland and France during the 100 Years War.  You will see the fleur d lis and the thistle intertwined with one another on her coat of arms.

The thistle, Jeanne de Arc, France, Scotland and the prairie have always been a strong influence in my life. 

My Studio design will include this theme as well and the crystal chandelier which is the first French element for the space.  The chandelier may or may not be French, but sparkling crystals always remind me of France.  The space is progressing wonderfully and as promised here is a photo of the chandelier that is providing a soft light and loads of sparkle to the room. 

The hardwood floors will be installed next, another DIY project for the hubby and me.  We are using hardwood flooring made of oak that we salvaged from a restoration project that is from the mid 1800s that was going to be discarded.  After sanding the floors I plan to give them a whitewash pickle treatment.  I love the look of white painted flooring, but it is a studio space which means alot of abuse and white painted flooring would be too difficult to keep clean.  I am there to create - not clean - right?  Oh, there's that feisty Scottish blood running through my veins again....

The square prisms cast tiny rainbows in the late afternoon which is always a delight and reminds me of afternoons at my Grandma's playing with her prism in the sitting room.  Miss you Grandma, every single day.

Yesterday, I spent the day with Sweet Dan gathering materials, planing Black Walnut lumber, and fashioning a large wooden cross that I then stenciled with "Avec l'aide de Dius" (translation - With the help of God).  I made one with old barn wood that is a rustic beauty and two from Black Walnut.  I'll include a photo in a future posting when I hang one in my studio space.  The other two will go with me to the Bottoms Up show the first weekend in April.

This is my sweet little niece, Tasha wearing one of my vintage garden hats.  Yes, I collect garden hats and I wear them, too. The more flowers stuck to the band of the hat the better!   I keep hoping to channel the gardening wisdom of the ladies that wore these hats in another gardening lifetime and it helps keep the freckles to a minimum that I am prone to get every Summer.  Mine are not cute like those of Ina Garten!

While entertaining my niece and nephew recently at the farm, we were leaving the house for an afternoon walk down the gravel road when my niece, Tasha noticed this particular hat hanging by the door and asked if she might wear it on our walk.

It's a big hat for such a little girl, but she was oh, so very sweet wearing it as we crunched along the road on our way to the old bridge to throw rocks into the creek below.

Doesn't she look like a happy little farmgirl? 

We threw sticks into the water and then ran to the opposite side of the bridge to see the stick appear from the other side.  Simple country kid fun.  Throwing things into the creek from a bridge just to hear the kerplunk, see the splash or watch them float by on the ripples of the creek.  We balanced tiny stones on the metal rail of the bridge just to see how long they would stay there and then it was crunch, crunch, crunch back to the house for a cookie. 

The last time we drove across the bridge my nephew Caleb said, "Aunt Julie, my rock is still there."

Blessings - Julie


Alice said...

Your studio is going to be fabulous! It's so bright and cheery!

Since I was young our family would spend weekends driving along country roads, gathering seasonal flowers, wading at low water bridges, or hunting for arroheads. We try to continue this today with our own children (but they're growing up so fast!) It's a great way to keep them unplugged from all those gadgets, and plugged into nature and family.

Have a wonderful day!

Gardanne said...

Beautiful studio. My mother is from Scotland, near Peebles, and about an hour from Edinburgh. She lived a fairytale childhood on an estate, her Mom was the cook and her Dad was the gamekeeper.
As a child we spent every other summer with my Grandparents and I have wonderful memories. Two years ago my family took my now 89 year old Mom to revisit old familiar places and a few new ones, it was wonderful.

Francy said...

beautiful chandelier! adorable niece- cute little nose protected by your hat.

OmWeaver said...

You with your expansive heart and mind... Thank you for sharing.

Me! said...

Pooh Sticks! You played Pooh Sticks! I love it! :)

La Dolce Vita said...

i love the story of the prairie thistle Julie, just wonderful, and your studio is going to be gorgeous! love the chandelier! cannot wait to see the floors, they will be wonderful! xx's

Lesley said...

Julie you have such a beautiful way with words and how they describe your exquisite photographs. Such a joy to read your posts.
(I love your chandalier)
Lesley x