Showing posts from January, 2009

Stitched with Love - Friendly Friday

Love is a marvelous, miraculous thing, but has this in common with fire:
one must keep it going and feed it.
Jean Simard

An evening or two of stitching resulted in this crazy patch heart. I love making things without patterns - just stitching as the muse leads. A few buttons and a piece of twill tape stamped with love to hold a little bouquet finished it off.

Now, where to put it? And should I do a tutorial?

Check out more Friendly Friday posts at Lynne Laura's A Romantic Nest.

A Sunny Morning Walk

The sun invited me outside this morning. I just couldn't say no...I put on my jacket and shoes, tucked my camera into my pocket, pulled on some gloves after stuffing my pockets with tissues because my husband was generous enough to share his cold, and headed out the door.

I was glad for the gloves because the air was chilly, and wished I'd put on some sunglasses, too.

There's a Conservancy area near our home - Rithet's Bog. That's where I went, searching for signs of spring although I know it's only January. The grass is green all year here, so that doesn't count. But I loved the way the sun made patterns through the trees. The path beckoned me on...

And here, if you look closely, you'll see a robin. Fat, with a rusty red breast, he sat preening while I took his photograph. The robins have been here since Christmas.

I'm glad I listened to the sun's siren call for this afternoon has been cloudy and gray. Seize the moment!

Tuesday Tablescape - A La Française

Last spring? summer? we had some friends over for dinner. I decided to cook a French meal and decorated the table accordingly. This heavy iron Eiffel Tower was in the middle, with a menu board just like we saw on the sidewalks in France (mine is seriously scaled down). and some fat white candles tied with perky polka-dotted ribbon.

The tablecloth is pale pink and I used black napkins. For place cards I used dollar store miniature frames. I like things that I can use for more than one party. This one was so much fun!

For more beautiful tablescapes, check out the links at Between Naps on the Porch. Susan hosts this event every week. It will soon be moving to Thursday instead of Tuesday.

Sunday Thoughts

"Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God."

Friendly Friday

I wish the sky would rain down roses, as they rain from off the shaken bush...
They would fall as light as feathers, smelling sweet;
and it would be like sleeping and yet waking, all at once.
George Eliot

Lynne Laura at A Romantic Nest is hosting Friendly Friday - a time to share quotations and friendly thoughts. While I don't really wish it would rain roses, it's fun to imagine what it would be like. And I do love roses - these grew in my garden last summer. Just a few more months of winter and we'll be feeling those velvety petals and drawing the fragrance in deep breaths.

And I was recently tagged by Kyllimarjaana who writes her blog from Finland. She has some gorgeous photos and is a very talented lady. I'm supposed to tell you 6 things about myself, and follow the rules below.

Here are six things about me...

1. I love dark chocolate - a day without chocolate just doesn't happen. I just take one or two squares (Lindt 70% is my favouri…

Time for Tea and Two Winners

The winning names for the Valentine Mobile Giveaway are Carole and Lilli - I'll get your kits in the mail this week!

My youngest daughter gave me this beautiful teapot for Christmas. I have quite a few teapots, but wanted one that holds more cups of tea! This makes 5 big mugfuls - perfect for when the girls drop by. Blue and white is my favourite colour combination and I love the swirls and flowers.

This teapot was made in Vietnam, I believe, and was purchased at Ten Thousand Villages, a fair trading company that supports local industries around the world. They have wonderful handcrafted items there. If your town has such a store, check it out!

January Pleasures

January marks the start of a new year, but it can be a quiet month. For me, it's a time of peace and of reflection, although there are plenty of things keeping me busy. But I savour quiet evenings at home with my husband, and Sunday dinners with my family while the wind blows rain drips outside. Here are a few of my January delights.

* After taking down the Christmas decor I enjoy a few days of a spare,
streamlined home. Slowly, the mantle fills and a few pretty things are
added here and there - right now three pink hyacinths are beginning to
bloom there, lined up in a row with clear glass votives between them.
What a pretty sight to see the candles flicker in the evening and
smell the hyacinths.

* One ritual I've begun that is now in its second year is that of
making a collage featuring a word, or words that I've chosen to focus
on for the year. This year my word is New, with Dwell and Trust
alongside. I did a post about that here.

* I like to spend a few hours pouring over my cookb…

Love Bird Mobile Tutorial and a Giveaway

Love, twitters, sweet kisses, hearts and flowers add up to Valentine's Day! It's coming soon!

I've been playing in the evenings - having fun at my desk. I came up with this idea for a Valentine mobile and thought I'd share it with you. The days are grey and cloudy and the pictures reflect that, but here goes.

1. Collect your supplies. I used scrapbooking cardstock, but any firm paper would work. Scissors, glue, a few embellishments and you're set. You'll need thread for hanging the birds - I used a quilting thread for strength, but regular thread would work too.

2. Cut out the pieces. You'll need the number indicated on the pattern below. I think if you click on the picture and print it full page you'll end up with the same size that I have.

3. Cut pieces of thread - they can be trimmed to size later, I cut mine about 5 inches to begin with.
4. Spread a thin layer of glue on one side of two birds (opposites, not pairs). Lay the thread at the top, then pl…


Last year, for the first time, inspired by other bloggers, I choose a word, actually five words, on which to focus. I made a collage reminder, seen here, and hung it in my office/studio. I was surprised at how often over the year I would look at the piece and think, "ah yes, that's what it's all about."

But I didn't see how I would be able to come up with new words every year, because I certainly haven't exhausted last year's words. But as I've been reading my Bible and thinking about the year to come, the word that kept coming to mind was "New." Sometimes I feel that there is so little that's new at this season in my life when I'm struggling with the empty nest syndrome. (Oh, how I hate being part of a "syndrome.") But as I've prayed and cast about in my mind for what the future holds, the words written by Isaiah the prophet "See, I am doing a new thing," remind me that God is always doing things that are fres…

Felt Flower Brooch

This little pin is brightening up my black winter coat these days. I made two of these - one for a friend as a Christmas gift and one for myself. I used Betz White's tutorial, found here. The white petals are from a thrift store sweater I felted, the blue and green are scraps of wool felt I had. Betz uses a felt ball for the centre, I used a pearl button.

There are so many generous designers in blogland. They share so much of their creativity and I am thankful. They inspire me in so many ways.

Winter softness

My latest knitting project - a pair of Pretty Lace Handwarmers from the Purlbee. I'm using a soft pink yarn that is lovely to touch.
There are many beautiful projects on the Purlbee site. Go on over and take a look. You'll be inspired.

Focus and Direction

My big plan right now is to keep plugging away at my French degree and then get my teacher certification. It's a course I set out and I'm determined to finish. But oh my, so many other things crowd my mind. Ideas for crafts, books to read, sewing projects, creative writing ideas. I do keep up with some sewing and crafting for relaxation, but mostly I push those thoughts away and tell myself, "just finish this degree." It's going to take a few years and seems daunting at times.

Like our two daughters pretending to be intrepid explorers in the photo above, I have to keep my eyes on the long-term goal, on the horizon ahead.

Complicated Paper

I read an article in a Somerset Studio magazine about creating "complicated paper" to cut up and use in other projects. Basically, it's a large sheet of varied papers. I used a sheet of tissue paper and then added scraps of whatever I had - mostly scrapbooking paper, but also pieces of old music, a letter, some wallpaper scraps and paper lace doilies. I glued it all down, let it dry, then painted over it with an uneven wash of blue paint. After that dried I went over some areas with watered down pearlized paint.

Today I hope to iron it all flat and then cut it up into pieces for the project I have in mind. More on that later.
What is more relaxing in the evening than a cup of tea or hot chocolate and a lovely magazine (or book) accompanied by the flicker of candlelight? Aahh.

On a Winter's Day

In a way winter is the real spring, the time when the inner
things happen, the resurge of nature.
(Edna O'Brien)
Most of the snow has disappeared in town, washed away by the rain that's falling. Yesterday afternoon we took a walk in the woods and there the snow lies deep on the ground, with a hard crust that we could walk on. I love the woods in every season - now in winter, the trees are dark and mysterious, heavy with moss. Black pools of water trickle softly and flocks of birds fly overhead.

Today it's back to work, back to studying, back to "normal" life. But always in January there's reflection as thoughts turn over in my head. What is essential? What do I value? What should be left behind? For what am I thankful? What goals should I pursue?

These are the things I'm pondering just now...

Clean and Simple and a Dessert Recipe

Mixed emotions accompany the taking down of the Christmas decor. It means the festive season is officially over and it's time to head back to work and study. But once the pine needles are vacuumed and the decorations neatly stowed in their proper place in the storage room, I like to putter and rearrange things. January, for me, is all about simple, spare and white.

My mantle holds just a few things - a tall crystal vase filled with brown twigs and several glass candle holders. Flickering candles that refract light through glass charm me as I read or knit or write in my living room.

Have you ever eaten Floating Island? I never had but somehow, the thought popped into my head yesterday. I hankered after a light and white sweet, and this was it. Delicious, with lots of texture - melting smooth crème anglaise, marshmallowy meringue, bitter burnt sugar sauce and crunchy sweet praline.

Although this recipe has a lot of steps, it's not difficult at all. Most of it can (and should be…