Thursday, January 4, 2018

Winter Orchids

Today is the last day of 2017. The coldest New Year's Eve in this half century! The temperature has been around 10-20 degrees F for a week.  It's going to be a frigid, brutal, cold and single digit New Year's Eve. I am worried about the people gathering in Times Square in NYC, waiting for the crystal ball to drop, and singing Auld Lang Syne, saying good bye to 2017 and cheering for 2018. They might freeze in this kind of cold!
Well, these orchids will help to warm our hearts and lift up our spirits in these cold days. They are still blooming. The purple and white cattleyas (first and second pictures below) are producing a nice fragrance in the air.  So pleasant!

Cattleya,  "Rome Holiday"  picture taken from October
I didn't expect this miniature dendrobium bloom again

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Sidney, the Dog

My husband and I have been taking care of my daughter Melanie's dog for three weeks because she and her husband flew to Sri Lanka to attend her good friend's wedding. The dog Sidney, a Havanese, is small, friendly and very cute. He does not like cold weather and likes to chase squirrels.

Over the holidays, my grandchildren visited. They love playing with Sidney and tried to help take care of  him. On the day before Christmas, my two grandchildren took Sidney for a walk, and soon after they reached the street out front, they rushed home, terrified and crying, saying a big dog was attacking Sidney and that he's dying!! I stormed out with my pajamas on, picked up a stick on the ground, and tried to scare the big dog away. The dog had Sidney in his jaws and Sidney was so still, we did think he was dead. But with me waving the stick at the dog, he finally let go and Sidney sprang to his feet. My daughter, Vivian, who also ran after me to help, scooped up Sidney from the ground then carried him home.

Sidney was so frightened, and he seemed hurt. My husband and son-in-law brought Sidney to the Animal Hospital to get evaluated. For the most part, everything was all right. Sidney had a puncture wound under his jaw and some superficial wounds on his ear and body. He was wearing a vest for warmth, and that might have saved him. For two days, he just wanted someone to hold him all the time. I think he was in traumatic shock!

For the next few days, Sidney limped with his front leg. My husband fed him antibiotics and pain killers. It took about a week, but Sidney is back to normal and jumping around.  He seems totally fine. We told Melanie the whole story when they arrived back from Sri Lanka because we didn't want to worry them during their vacation.

When Melanie and Peter came home to bring Sidney back to NYC, the three of them were so excited and happy! Especially Sidney. I just wonder...does he remember what happened during this episode!?

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Happy New Year

Wishing you all have a happy holiday season and a peace, healthy, wonderful 2018 New Year!
Two arrangements shown here for New Year celebration! 
Picture 1- Hata Sensei's demo, using bamboo, pine, nandina, carnation, lily and mum / hand made wood container.
Picture 2 - My arrangement, the Materials, please check previous post. (12/18/2017 class) 

Monday, December 25, 2017

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

In Hata Sensei's class this month, we celebrate Eastern New Year and Western holiday traditions in our arrangements. So, we only need to arrange two holiday celebration arrangements in the morning, followed by a year end pot luck luncheon. For Christmas, traditionally use color red, green and white. For the New Year, we need to use Japanese traditional materials like pine, bamboo, chrysanthemum, red berries, lily, nandina and any budded branch... The mizuhiki (Japanese paper string, for celebration) can be use for both design. Sensei said using mizuhiki in Western arrangement can be striking and modern looking.
Poinsettia, treated baby's breath, holy and spread painted azalea / metal container
Pine, nandina, mum, winter berry, spread painted azalea branch
 and budded lilac branch with mizuhiki / ceramic container

Winter berry, mum, pine and branch with mizuhiki / ceramic container

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Holy Night and Silent Night

Ikebana class for this month is all about holiday design. Christmas is just around the corner. For my Christmas celebration arrangement, I choose my metal crescent moon shaped container to arrange a "Mass Expression". That will be the " Holy Night". The other one, I used a Japanese lacquer salad bowl for another holiday arrangement. It will be " Silent Night". (12/12/2017 MeiiHuey Sensei's class)
Holy, Nandina, Carnation, berry, ornament and pine corn
Bitter sweet, mum, rose and green.Water is silently shown

Monday, December 11, 2017

Season's First Snow

I said before that this Winter has been very mild, but it's turning colder and colder as time goes by. On December 9, snow was falling all day long, sometimes heavy and sometimes just flurries! We had only 3 inches of snow on the ground at the end.
These are cornflowers, we did not clean them up yet. It looks like road side IKEBANA

The five Magnolia trees look like X'mas tree. Beautiful !

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Thanksgiving with Family

Thanksgiving has come and gone. The weather here was just perfect, sunny and warm. Forty seven years ago, there were only two of us: my husband and me. Now, he is a retired physician, my son has followed his footsteps, my daughter (an architect) helped us design and renovate this comfy, beautiful retirement house, and our youngest daughter is a high school principal in New York City. This past June she had her school's first graduation (she founded the school), and 95% of her seniors graduated. We are so proud of her! We also have our four grandchildren, they are good kids and healthy. We have 12 people in total in the family by now. We are thankful for so many things, and our family being together, happy and healthy, is what we are most thankful for!
Using all the materials I had on hand to make an arrangement in ten minutes.
My four grandchildren and their cousin are sitting at kids table.
Climbing up a tree at Washington Crossing park

Monday, November 20, 2017

Fall Arrangement (Lesson 3)

Lesson 3) Fall arrangement- It should be suitable for the Thanksgiving dinner table.
My materials: Kale, mum,Winter berry, Hinoki, Hydrangea and dried branch / ceramic container
Front side view
Back side view
Hata Sensei's demo arrangement

Morimono Thanksgiving Arrangement (Lessons 1 and 2)

Hata Sensei's class had been moved one week early for November because of the Thanksgiving holiday. We had three lessons as usual. Two in the morning, and one after lunch, which was Free style.
Lesson 1) Variation #4 Upright Style Moribana: Basic style, Shin and Hekei but no Soe arrangement
Materials: Magnolia, Kale and mum / ceramic container ( 11/13/2017)
The Magnolia branch should be a little bit taller
 Lesson 2) Morimono arrangements
Hata Sensei's morimono arrangement
My morimono arrangement in class
My other morimono arrangement, days before class

Friday, November 17, 2017

Leaf Manipulation Demonstration with Yuri Ishizuka

On November 16th, Ikebana International Philadelphia chapter held a program "Leaf manipulation." I was there to see first hand Sensei's demonstration. I usually just leave the leaves in a natural way in my ikebana arrangements. If I should have the big tropical leaves like below, I certainly can use the ideas from Ms. Yuri Ishizuka. Please see the arrangements that she made for the I.I members below. Here is her biography from the program:
"Ms Yuri Ishizuka is a Senior Professor of Ikenobo School, the highest Ikenobo diploma- Jun Katoku 15, a Special Teaching Member. She teaches privately and at the Nippon Club in NYC, and holds workshops at the Tiffany & co. design studio. She has also exhibited widely, including at the United Nations, the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the residence of Japanese consulate General."