Descanso Gardens

Have any of you other Angelenos been to Descanso Gardens? If you’re into flowers, this place is incredible. A coworker mentioned it to me a month or so ago, and I checked it out for the first time a couple weeks back. I signed up for a membership that day – I knew it was a place I’d have to visit over and over.

It’s peaceful, beautiful, and relaxing. I love being outdoors and wandering the various trails and paths. And when you think, “Maybe I’m not supposed to walk here?” chances are you’ll look up to find a bench a bit further down the way. It’s wonderful. I’ve taken in the views from some of the benches, parked myself on a rock to watch the koi and turtles in the pond, and have grand plans of bringing a book next time I’m there and possibly claiming a patch of grass in one of the many open fields.

This past weekend in particular, I was excited to return to see the cherry blossoms blooming. As magical as promised. I took lots of pictures in the short time I was there (bonus of a membership – I can come whenever I please so I don’t feel the need to make my time spent there worth the admission fee, which is a reasonable $8) – and want to share a few of my favorites with you below.

They’re all pictures of flowers, and you’ll see one of my (dare I say?) signature “bee butts” in there as well. Enjoy, and if you’re in the area be sure to check out the gardens yourself!

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Photos on Canvas

My apartment is pretty well-known (in my circles) for being colorful. I’ve never done well with white walls, so immediately upon moving in I picked the paint chips out for an aqua bedroom, teal living room, purple second bedroom and bath, and green kitchen. (That’s partially a lie, I had originally painted the kitchen a mango color that ended up doing nothing for me.)

And, while the walls aren’t white anymore, I still like piling on the color with my vast collection of wall art. Most of the pieces are my own (mainly paintings and photos), and others are from local shops and, of course, Etsy.

I love taking nature walks around my neighborhood when the flowers are in full bloom, snapping away with my camera, and some of the images are just downright dreamy. Somehow 4×6″ doesn’t do them justice. Then, voila. One of the coolest things I discovered was the ability to have your photos printed on giant canvases. I’m not sure who mentioned the idea originally, likely my sister, but I definitely took the idea and ran with it. (I’ve got at least 10 such prints of my photos hanging on my walls, and have given them as gifts as well!) This, and the introduction to the macro lens on my little point and shoot, have been sort of life changing. Make sure to change your camera settings so you capture the largest image size possible if you plan on enlarging a picture. (I use my camera’s M1 setting – 3264 x 2448 pixels. There’s a larger setting of 4000 x 3000, but I haven’t had any problem in scaling my pictures at the slightly smaller size, and the other’ll eat through your memory card much quicker.) These websites will warn you if your pictures don’t have enough resolution to enlarge without losing quality.

There are plenty of websites make these prints, and I’ve used a couple of different ones like Shutterfly and Snapfish, but I know CVS does them, and I recently bought a Groupon for a company called Image Canvas, so I’ll be testing them out. You certainly don’t have to use a different company every time, but I generally wait to print anything on this scale until I get an offer for a good sale price, and they can come from a variety of sites. (I recommend waiting on sales for 40% off or upwards, these can run expensive!) The reason I branched out to different sites was because Shutterfly and Snapfish each offer different sized canvases. I ended up getting my larger prints from Shutterfly and my smallest three from Snapfish. The one disappointment I had with Snapfish was that their photos arrived and the canvas was matted, not glossy. To remedy, I just applied my own clear coat of varnish (something I’d use on top of an acrylic painting) to make it shinier, and it didn’t affect the image in anyway.

This first image is one of my favorites. You might find it surprising, but bees are some of my favorite subjects, and the most photogenic. (I even gave my mom a couple prints from my “bee butt” series.) The flowers are kind of interesting too 😉 This print is 24 x 36″ on canvas, and below is the original photograph. (The colors in the print are pretty true to the original, they’re just not translating in my picture of a picture.)

These three prints are each 8 x 10″, and their progressing shades of orange against the teal wall (looks more blue here) make me smile.

Hopefully this inspires you to create some of your own wall art. It’s not just for the pros anymore!