Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Happy Makers

"Nobody has measured, not even the poets, how much love the heart can hold."
-- Zelda Fitzgerald

 Botany Flowers last Valentine's Day

February is the shortest month and also the sweetest with Valentine's Day right in the middle. But maybe the best thing about February is that it's the last month of winter and the precursor to spring. In Los Angeles, it's still chilly enough to want to be inside but there are glimmerings of nature about to burst into bloom. Here a few things that are making me very happy this month.

Photo via here

Reading a wonderful article in the New Yorker about the history of "loving" to read. It turns out that those of us who feel passionate about books are in very good company. Many of us have a love affair with books; this article explains the romance of literature.  

Finding an old book with the loveliest artwork on the cover. I love the sub-title of this memoir -- A study in Friendship. Do you know about Ottoline Morrell? She lived in England during the early part of the twentieth-century and was a fascinating woman who was connected to the Bloomsbury Group. I have collected many books about her and think it's now time to do a little research! 

And speaking of Bloomsbury, there is a new novel about Vanessa Bell and her sister Virginia Woolf. It is a work of historical fiction and has gotten great reviews. 

Another new novel by one of my favorite playwrights, Yasmina Reza. She  is a French writer best known for her plays Art and God of Carnage. Her new novel is also getting great reviews!

Framing this poster from the fabulous Virginia Woolf exhibition I saw at the National Portrait Gallery last fall. It reminds me of our wonderful trip to London. Are you sensing a Bloomsbury theme to this blog post? Not intentional!

Being in awe of the pear tree bursting into blossom; this spectacular event always takes my breath away!

Getting ready for spring with some new outdoor furniture. I have admired Peter Dunham's Fig Leaf pattern forever and was so excited to finally have a place to use it!

Liberty of London's "Secret Garden" series which just debuted this month. It is as fresh as springtime. Each pattern is based on a quote from The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett. The pattern above is called "Jeffrey Rose Tree" and was inspired by the following quote:

"And the roses -- the roses! They came along day by day, hour by hour."

 What a brilliant idea to tie in a classic garden book with a fabric design. Go here to see more.

 Signing up for The Italian Sojourn -- a new lecture series that examines books about trying to reinvent oneself or alter life experiences by changing one's environment. Not surprisingly, they all take place in Italy. This one should be delightful as it is taught by one of my favorite UCLA professors. The books include Up At The Villa by Somerset Maugham, Where Angels Fear To Tread by E.M. Forster and Roman Fever by Edith Wharton. Go here to learn more.

And finally the "J.M. W. Turner, Painting Set Free" exhibition that is opening at the Getty Center at the end of the month. It is arriving from the Tate Gallery in London and features the artist's experimental and very modern  paintings done at the end of his career. I can't wait to see this.

Wishing you a Happy Valentine's Day!


  1. What a lovely list! You're in for a real treat with the Turner exhibition - I saw it in London and loved it.

    Oh, whenever I read your lovely blog, I always seem to want to rush off and by books after! I'd love to read the novel about Virginia and Vanessa, and I'd love to try 'Happy are the Happy' too.

    Your garden looks so gorgeous - it looks like full spring in LA already to me!!

    Miranda xxx http://mirandasnotebook.com/

    1. Miranda, it really is beginning to feel like spring in L.A. Everyone seems to have pear trees and when they are all blossoming at once, the streets are just beautiful. Speaking of Vanessa Bell, have you been to Charletston? It's not that far from London. You would love it!

    2. I have been to Charleston twice but really want to go again!! It's so gorgeous - I do love it! I bought the novel on Vanessa and Virginia and so far am enjoying. Thanks, as always, for your wonderful recommendations! xxx

  2. Beautiful Sunday, I love your garden, the huge lemon pots and flowering trees. I have the book about Ottoline Morrell and have the Virginia Woolf poster but do not have mine framed, yours looks terrific. I am so inspired by your blogs. Thank you!

    1. Hi Doris, that is amazing that you have the same book on Ottoline Morrell. The Virginia Woolf poster was so pretty that I had to frame it. Thanks for your kind words!

  3. And a happy Valentine's day to you!
    You bring us such joy and beauty!

  4. Your lush citrus trees made me feel very sorry for my tiny Meyer lemon - stuck inside and hiding from the cold. Still, I'm amazed that it fruits in this climate!
    You must try to find Mr Turner with Timothy Spall playing at a cinema, Sunday, it's wonderful! And I do love your poster of Virginia; she looks very much at home.

  5. So excited about the Turner exhibition, and LOVE your new outdoor furniture and the fabric is smashing. The Italian Sojourn lecture series looks fabulous. Thanks for always bringing our attention to such wonderful things.

  6. I love all of your suggestions for reading. I can't wait to read about Vanessa and Virginia and love Yasmina Reza. Thank you....and the garden is so lovely!

  7. Sunday, you always have such enticing book recommendations. I also feel like running off to the book store. The garden is gorgeous! Love the flowering pear. We are having another burst of snow and cold, but it will make me appreciate the spring when it finally gets here. Hope you & yours had a lovely Valentines weekend.