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Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Creating A Thing of Beauty

John Keats said A thing of beauty is a joy forever. I think he might be right. The beauty may not last forever, but it sure might help bring a bit more joy into the world while it does last. I believe we must all strive to bring a bit more beauty into our lives. Why not?  It sure beats the heck out of dwelling on the ugly things that bombard us every day.

So, as I sat on my garden bench drinking a cup of coffee the other morning, watching all the lovely little birdies flitting about, my eye was drawn to a branch not far above, that held the tiniest bird I'd ever seen. As I stared in wonder, it suddenly took to flight and I realized it was a hummingbird.  You don't often see them at rest, so that is what puzzled me for a moment.  I realized the bright orange blooms of the nearby trumpet vine were what had attracted the teeny bird, and I decided I needed to do more to coax my hummingbirds out into the open so I could enjoy their beauty more often.  I thought I might turn my bench spot (now plain and simple) to a hummingbird room that would be more inviting to the small birdies and maybe butterflies too.  Here's what I did. I scoured my garage, house and shed for things I already had to furnish my room.

A vintage crocheted throw I snatched from a guest room, would provide a nice cushion for the bench seat

I took a stained vintage linen towel and turned it into a pillow.  Just stitched up two sides, inserted the pillows, and tied with a burlap ribbon.  Needed a decoration, so I stenciled a French design in grey. The pillow will make a nice support for your back while waiting for the birds.

I thought you might like a place to rest your feet or a cup of coffee or glass of tea, so I dragged out an old green bench from the garage.  It use to belong to Bob's dad who was quite handy with a saw and hunk of lumber and used the bench for cutting or sitting at his workbench.  Unfortunately, his son did not inherit that skill, so the bench really was just a place to collect junk.  I think it looks better in my hummingbird room!



As you can see the bench has some paint stains, but I don't mind; I think they add character.  I also added a ceramic watering can planter and an iron bird platter that I found hanging out in the garage.  The bench needed some greenery, so I stole an urn of thyme from the patio and added it to the vignette.  The sun helps release the herbie aroma...lovely! Beauty for all the senses.


Next, I took an old crate that was wasting away on the side of the house by the garbage cans and turned it into an end table next to the bench.  It made a great resting spot for a plant (more on plants in a bit) and just had to add the cute red ladybug lawn ornament from a planter on my patio to join us in the hummingbird room.  Thought she might feel more at home here.

 The trees needed a little bling too.  A lovely green birdhouse that was looking pretty in my sunroom would be better in the branches of the bower in front of my bench providing a nesting spot for some wrens.
And two solar mason jars from the front door area will vie with the fireflies at night, lighting up the hummingbird retreat.

So...now that I furnished the room where I would be able to spy those busy birds, I needed to attract the hummers and butterflies to the area.  The trumpet vines only ten feet away were a start, but I knew hummingbirds would love a few sweet red flowers too.  A quick trip to The Garden Gate.  I scored big with half-price sales!!! I snagged a hanging basket filled with red verbena and petunias (you can see it in the above picture hanging in the branches of the hedges that shade the bench). I also snatched up a large pot of red verbena, and that I placed on the crate end table next to bench.  Things were shaping up.

Still needed a few more things to tease out the shy, wee birds.

I hung a hummingbird feeder that was gathering dust in the garage in a branch close to where I saw the bird in the morning.  I whipped up some hummingbird syrup ( 4 parts water, 1 part sugar, heat until sugar melts, cool) and put it in the feeder.  I know this will need to be changed frequently, so I only made a 2 -cup batch.

I also set up a special snack for birds and butterflies. After some brief research I learned these winged critters like jam and water. I took the pedestal base of a broken birdbath and set a plant saucer on top, then set a mason jar cap filled with raspberry preserves, and a small glass bowl of water in the saucer.  Hope they like the special treat.


So, I'm ready now to do some serious bird watching....and even if they don't show up in droves, I'll be able to enjoy some lovely things of beauty all around



It brings joy to also share the beauty with beautiful family and friends...


What things of beauty do you see in your life?  What beauty might you create?