Tuesday, 2 April 2019

Vivien's Birthday

No, it's not Vivien's birthday now or any time in the next six months; her birthday is long past so "don't worry about it" (to quote her). I just found some photos I'd taken at the time I was preparing her presents and thought I would share them because it was fun at the time. I always wrap her gifts at the same time as I do her and Steve's Christmas gifts (there's hint for you). It makes a nice change to do a birthday theme instead of the umpteenth red / green / gold / silver thing.

I don't remember what all I got her this time, only that I enjoyed putting it together. I had no birthday wrapping paper that suited, so she got fabric wraps decorated with buttons and ribbons. 

I remember having to tell her to take the plant out of the bag, as I feared it wouldn't do well without light. 

I got the bulbs, the ivy at the garden guy at Tynemouth flea market. And the vase from a new housewares shop that lasted about a month, sadly. It was a newly renovated building tucked away between two others and I was looking forward to exploring it further, as the top floor had a lantern roof, like a conservatory. It's now a boring office place. I'm quite disappointed about this but perhaps her prices really were too good to be true.

Gosh, did I put a baby spider plant in there, too?

I remember the day also because we got an early-ish phone call from one of Bill's children about an impromptu visit that very day. I was rather grumpy about the short notice and then decided I simply wouldn't change my plans. There wasn't enough time to get ready for Vivien's birthday before our next meet up and I still didn't know what I might get her other that what small thing I already had on hand. As it happened the timing was perfect: they were at the door just as I was going out. They had kindly brought us a poinsettia and a very large bag of bacon flavoured crisps. I didn't feel I had the skills to revive this sad poinsettia and so it later went into the compost bin. I donated the crisps (not that they wouldn't have been incredible, I just didn't need the calories) to a nearby food bank. They were gone by the time I'd circled Tynemouth village several times, running into an old friend from work as well. (Must get in touch with Hilary.) 

Was all that terrible of me? Perhaps. I have to say it felt like setting boundaries and taking care of myself. And Bill got to enjoy their visit all the same.

I'm thinking this must have been on sale...or free...

Anyhow, when I got home I had fun wrapping the presents and putting together the plant. It amused me to use sea glass in the bottom for drainage, then potting compost. I inserted the bulbs and surrounded them with the ivy plants. I remembered a magazine article from long ago that described the components for a good potted arrangement: you need a thriller (something that sticks up), a spiller (something that hangs down) and a filler (to fill the gaps). I hoped that the ivy would serve as both spiller and filler (I'm a real fan of draping plants like ferns, ivy, willow trees, etc. I think they are terribly romantic; how soppy is that?).

I am sure I ironed this before wrapping the gift; why didn't I iron it before taking the photo??

The bulbs turned out to be even more "thrilling" than I expected, they shot up well before her birthday. She kindly sent me a photo and said they were using it as their Christmas centrepiece. 

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