Tuesday, December 1, 2015

My Favorite Things—Fern Paintings

While in a check-out line this past weekend, I noticed the cover of Oprah’s magazine, which included a headline about her favorite things and how some lucky readers could win them. Now I’m old enough to remember watching her annual “Favorite Things” show in which audience members “went coco-nuts” (as my six-year-old would say) as Oprah piled gift after gift upon them, usually a mix of hot new tech items combined with comfy pajamas and cookware. By virtue of being featured on Oprah’s show, the gifts were christened the must-haves of the season.

In our little household, as Christmas approaches, we are having a hard time deciding what we “want.” Even the kids are struggling to give Santa a list. We watch all our TV on Netflix, so they’re spared commercials telling them what they must have. This is all fine with me. That’s not to say there won’t be any presents under the tree. There will be, some. But I'm also trying to cultivate a mindfulness, in myself first, and hopefully spreading outward to the people I love, about needs and wants. I want to spend more time appreciating that I have what I need, and also that so many of my favorite “things” are items I already own.

So this is the first in what I anticipate will be an irregular series of posts touring some of my favorite things in my house, things that make me smile every time I look at them. I’m going to start this little journey just inside my front door where I have a grouping of four paintings of ferns. These little beauties were hand-painted on chalkboard and framed simply in wood painted a chocolate brown. I found these tossed on a clearance rack in a booth at a large craft mall. They were $2 each. I couldn’t believe no one had wanted these pretty things, but then all the other crafts at this particular mall were of the college-football-themed-toilet-paper-holder variety, so I guess these poor ferns just didn’t fit in. Lucky me!

My favorite color is lime green, so they caught my eye right away. I love that the four species (Mountain, Royal, Long Beech, Maidenhair) are accurately presented, according to my botanist friend. And, I’ve just always been a sucker for ferns. I love finding a big grouping of them on hikes, love seeing the fiddleheads in the spring and later, those delicate fronds unfolded. Ferns are cool! These plants have been around since the dinosaurs roamed, we’re talking more than 100 million years ago! Look at any drawing of the Cretaceous period. What’s that stegosaurus chomping on? Yup, ferns.

Ferns make me happy, and I love that these pictures greet everyone who enters our home.

*In case you’re curious, the “gossip bench” was purchased at a local antique store for about 50 bucks. It was covered in white leather and filthy. Once I cleaned up the wood and recovered the seat, it became the perfect little bench for our very small foyer. The table contains an antique phone book from my town and a working reproduction of a vintage phone (though I don’t have a phone jack here, so it’s mostly the kids’ pretend phone at present). I keep thinking I should sit down on this bench and have a lengthy phone conversation devoid of multi-tasking. Haven’t done it, yet.