Tuesday, October 21, 2014

On the Having and Eating of Cake

There's always a long list of sewing projects around here - in various stages, I'm afraid. I'm a great starter, a less-than-great finisher. Sigh. What can I say? It's the fabric that gets to me. Oh, look at me! Wouldn't I be wonderful as..... I usually do finish things, it just takes awhile. 

Last week, however, I saw this non-caloric piece of deliciousness on several blogs in honour of Quilty Fun's first year publication anniversary. I simply couldn't resist. And I had the perfect fabric in my stash! It was meant to be. And it's my birthday month (not til the end, though) so really, how could I resist? Why should I resist? 

I didn't. I whipped up two blocks, added some Essex linen in the middle and the ends, did a little hand embroidery, added a border and a backing (no batting, though), did a little machine quilting, bound it and it sits so prettily on my dining room table, making me happy.

Best of all, it's completely finished. 

I wanted another pin cushion (is it possible to have too many?) so even before I made the table runner, I grabbed a pile of fabrics and trims and made this bit of scrappy sweetness. 

There's a confession that goes along with this photo. Don't tell their mothers, but the Little Misses love playing with my pin cushions. They treat the pins like candles. Miss A used to poke the pins into the carpet (we were very careful to remove them all) and pretend that she was making a cake. Now she has a second pin cushion to make into a cake, which is a good thing since her little brother is beginning to crawl. Pins in the carpet would not be a good idea.

And another finish - actually this one was finished in the summer but I never got around to photographing it. It's a little pleated zipper pouch I found via Pinterest. It's on PattyDoo's site. The tutorial is a video, very well done, in German, with English subtitles. I rather liked listening to the cadence of the foreign language. 

And here we are, back at the cake. Some real cake would make a great accompaniment, wouldn't it?

There, just for you, a piece of cinnamon flavoured apple cake. Now, would you like a cup of tea or coffee with that? Enjoy!

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Wind Warning

On Friday morning the tops of the trees near us began tossing their heads to and fro. A trip to the water seemed like a good idea. Across the strait clouds and mist swirled around the mountains of the Olympic Peninsula. 

At Clover Point waves splintered against the rocks with satisfying crashes then trickled back into the sea. The restless water surged this way, then that, never ceasing.

Great flocks of gulls wheeled overhead, or faced into the wind and barely moved, held aloft by the forces of air. Their thin screams were whisked into nothingness by the gusts.

The fluidity of flight - wings curving and tail feathers fanned. The wind tangled my hair and blew sea mist onto my face. Oh, but it was exhilarating. Autumn's wildness is catching - I longed to lift off and catch the wind like the gulls.

Linking to Mosaic Monday hosted by Judith of Lavender Cottage.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014


I look around my home and I am content. It's not a show home nor is everything in perfect shape. It's a work in progress. But the clutch of mint on the windowsill is pretty to look at as I work at the sink.
Last picking of lemons from our tree before covering it up for the winter.

Home-keeping has a much better sound than house-keeping, don't you think? After all, although the house does require scrubbing and fixing and vacuuming and dusting, I only do those things because this is my home. 

This is the place where I am most myself. As Gladys Taber writes, "We need time to dream, time to remember, time to reach for the infinite. Time to be." I'd add that we need a physical space as well - indoors or out. Home should be one of those spaces.

Grey skies today and I'll be running errands later. For now, there's a pan of granola cooling on the countertop, a clock ticking quietly and a cup of tea to make. Wishing you quiet joys today.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

On a Tuesday that Feels like a Monday

Hawthorn berries

Holidays that fall on Mondays extend the weekend so nicely. We spent the day puttering around the house and yard, feeling that autumn has finally settled in to stay.  Now Tim is off to work and since I didn't get a call to teach today, I'm planning to scrub and wax the kitchen floor. Waxing a floor today isn't like the old days where the thick polish was applied, left to dry a little, then polished vigorously. No, this is more like a seal coat - wipe it on and let it dry. But the scrubbing is still the same and I do it with a brush on my hands and knees. Just once a year - the rest of the year is much simpler.

A couple of packages recently arrived on my doorstep. Chai tea (so warming with milk and honey) came from Deborah of The Beautiful Matters, along with two vintage napkins and a golden spoon. Thank you, Deborah.

Sandy of Quill Cottage Studio sent a little package of goodies to inspire creativity. Pretty papers, ribbons and old-fashioned paper dolls. Thank you, Sandy.

Our daughter brought two pies for Thanksgiving dinner - one pumpkin and one Kentucky Derbe (pecan and chocolate). I enjoy a slice of pumpkin pie but chocolate and pecans will win out every time. Which would you choose?

This little mossy twig caught my eye on a recent walk. It looks almost like a bird's nest tucked into the crook of the branch. The background of mellowing colour reminds me once again of October's beauty. 

As Anne with an "e" said, "I'm so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.

Sunday, October 12, 2014

A Rainy Day Garden Walk

Mother and Daughter shoes in the autumn leaves

It's Thanksgiving weekend in Canada. There is much reason for gratitude. Family, friends, health, jobs, freedom - the list is endless. Our family celebrated with dinner on Saturday night, and dry grilled ribs in place of the usual turkey. It was loud with the little ones in high spirits and so delightful. After the littles were put to bed we sat around talking, talking, talking. Good times. 

After church on Sunday we were invited to our son-in-law's parents for turkey dinner. It was most delicious - Sandi's stuffing was remarkable, the turkey moist and the company convivial. A walk through Butchart Gardens helped settle the meal a little. 


Autumnal colours are muted yet, with hopes of more vibrancy if the temperature drops a little. 

Drifts of bright leaves here and there.

In the always-peaceful Japanese garden, mushrooms spring up from the moss, perhaps giving shelter to any garden fairies nearby.

The stepping stones - always a favourite. The curved lines, the reflection, the hint of red in the background - serenely beautiful.

The dahlia borders were anything but serene. Vibrant colours popped against the grey skies and drizzle. Pinks, reds, oranges, yellows, whites - in all sizes and shapes. These are just a small sampling.

Wishing all my fellow Canadians a very Happy Thanksgiving Day! I'm thankful for the wonderful people I've met through blogging - I'm amazed by the kindred spirits who find each other on line. Thank you for your comments, your emails, and for reading this little piece of my life.

Linking up with Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith. 

"Give thanks to the Lord for he is good." Ps 136:1

Friday, October 10, 2014

Still Life Photography Challenge

This month's photo challenge is all about still life photography. As I thought about what I might like to capture via my camera, my mind kept going back to the still life genre of painting that gained popularity in the 16th and 17th centuries. Each item in the arranged painting symbolized something about life and/or death.

I thought more than I snapped for this challenge. Background, objects, composition - so much ponder.

 I used a black velvet shawl as the background for this and the second photos. The lemons and mint are from my garden while the kitchen utensils tell of some sort of cooking going on. Will it be a sauce? Lemonade? Cookies or ?? This speaks of possibilities to me, as well as the appreciation of good tools - measuring spoons sent from my mother to Ecuador many years ago, a wooden reamer that is pleasant to hold, and sturdy metal measuring cups.

When I come home from a walk on the beach I empty my pockets. Sea glass, stones, and shells find their way into collections around the house. Here I added a 1960s vibe to the photo via Picasa edits to evoke the sense of time and constant motion of the sea needed to smooth the rough edges from sharp glass .

This one is my favourite. Last Sunday I wandered through my garden picking a few last flowers, a disparate bunch for certain. The vase is an old one from my mother-in-law, as are the autumn-themed teacups. I set the arrangement on a wooden chair in front of a window (to the right) and put my fabric cutting board behind it, wrong side showing. I added a paper texture to the photo with BeFunky. 

My first takes of this photo had the pumpkin on the other side of the flowers. It was bright, round and cheery. But when I switched positions, the pumpkin faded more into the background and the story came to me. Summer waning, still bright, with autumn, rich and full, waiting in the wings.

The Personal Photography Challenge is hosted by Donna of Cottage Days and Journeys. I'm learning a lot through the links she puts up and her encouragement. Thank you, Donna.

Technical notes - I used my new-ish Panasonic Lumix with the 12-45 mm lens on the Intelligent Auto Plus setting (I'm learning the manual settings, too, Donna) with natural light. 

As a foot note, while looking on line at still life art, I discovered Cornelius Gysbrechts, a 17th century Flemish painter. His trompe d'oeil (fool the eye) paintings look very much like some of today's multi-media art.

Monday, October 06, 2014

House and Garden

A hall table has been on my wish list for quite some time. Narrow and long. Tim would like to build one for me, when he has time to do woodwork again, but in the meantime, I found an old dresser, painted it grey, changed the knobs and am very happy with the results. I'm mostly fond of white candles, but someone gave me these blue ones and I'll happily use them up.

A brass bowl of gourds with a few feathers adds an autumnal touch.

I like nothing more than a crackling wood fire, but our fireplace didn't throw any heat at all. So we converted to gas. We haven't had to use it yet because of our lovely lingering summer, but I can imagine cozy evenings with the flame flickering. I just need to get used to things being different.

The orange lights in the black marble are reflections from somewhere - haven't figured that out yet.

From one of our bedroom windows I can look across to the neighbour's chimney. I ran for my camera on Sunday morning and snapped this fellow then looked in my bird book. He's a handsome Sharp-shinned Hawk and he sat there for a long time.

Will this be the last pale pink Secret rose for the year? I don't know - our summer is loathe to leave and I don't mind a bit.

One delphinium is putting out new blooms, too. They look somewhat out of place against the mellowing foliage of autumn. Is summer lingering in your corner?