Showing posts from September, 2010

Summer Lingers in the Afternoons

In the chill of the early morning I pull up the quilt tightly around my shoulders. Mornings are brisk and refreshing. I see my breath in the air as I take out the garbage or go for a morning walk. 

By afternoon the autumn sun has filled the house with warmth and light. I'm restless at my desk, longing to be outdoors. And so, I give in and head for the beach. The tides are high these days; the sky blue, blue, blue; and as I walk, the cool wind blows away the cobwebs of care.

Not fully autumn, but definitely not summer. It's a quandary to know what to cook. In the mornings I think of hot soup or a warming dish, but by mid-afternoon, something cooler and lighter comes to mind.

Today's dinner struck the perfect balance. I played with the hearty flavours of roasted squash, created a red wine and onion reduction, and served it up on mixed greens with cranberries and maple for a hint of sweetness. And alongside, Almond Chicken breast. Satisfying and perfectly suited to the season.


How to Make a Burlap and Lace Table Runner

This table runner was fast and easy to make. I've long admired the rustic look of burlap but it seems to me to be a fall-ish kind of material. Maybe because I associate burlap with potato sacks and harvest. I think the rough texture of the burlap tones down the sweetness of the doilies and makes for an interesting contrast. 

So, let's begin....

1. Gather your supplies. You'll need the following:

- one large coffee sack (I found this one at a feed store for $1.00)
- an assortment of doilies or pieces of lace, round, square, rectangular, the shape doesn't really matter, but there's more interest if you have a variety of sizes
- scissors, ruler, sewing machine, thread, needles

The runner pictured is 17 inches wide by 83 inches long, including a 2 inch fringe at either end.

2.  Prepare the sack.

Cut off the top few inches of the sack to clean up the edge. The sack I used had a drawstring through it about 3 inches down from the top. I cut just below the drawstring. 

Cut off the …

Round Robin Stitchery Sampler

Here it is....

my finished sampler! 
It's been lost twice, found twice, traveled to a number of states, including Texas, Missouri, New Mexico, and Oregon. One stitcher moved to Oman shortly after signing up, so she sent an add-on stitchery (which I really must photograph and show you). 
It started with my own border defining the stitching area, plus I did the Queen Anne's lace on the right hand side. Someone else added the bow. 
You can see that I didn't take the time to press it before photographing it. I'm just enjoying looking at all the details - ribbon embroidery, beads, fine stitching, unique shapes and fabrics, lace and button. 
I love all the details and the way it looks so coherent with everyone's unique style. It's truly a sampler of friendship and love between friends - many of whom I've never met. 


Isn't this a pretty sampler? I can't take the credit for it - it's part of a stitching round robin. Ten women began mailing a piece of fabric around, each one adding their personal touch to the fabric. I was the final stitcher on the above sampler and contributed the three round flowers with the red French knots around them. The sampler has arrived at its rightful home. I'm waiting for mine to arrive. 

Metamorphosis - Baby to Bride

She was born on a sunny day in a small hospital on the edge of the Amazon jungle. Here she is, just a few hours old. Good friends came by with a chocolate pie and we had a little party to welcome our third child into the world. I guess we laughed too loudly because a nurse came and told us to quiet down.

And here she is, all grown up, 24 years later, with her brand-new husband.
Happiest of birthdays to our beautiful daughter. You've enriched our lives, added to our joy, and we thank God for you!

Maggie of Normandy Life suggested that I link this post to Metamorphosis Monday - where posts involve an alteration of some sort - usually a craft project. Instead, this metamorphosis features the change from baby to bride!

Click here to find many more metamorphoses!

Autumn Beauty

"Autumn, the year's last, loveliest smile." William Cullen Bryant
"No spring nor summer beauty hath such grace As I have seen in one autumnal face" John Donne

Autumn Pleasures

Yesterday involved a trip down to Victoria. Tim had meetings, I spent the day with my eldest daughter who drove me to a physio appointment (I told her she's being broken in for taking her mother to medical appointments decades from now when I'm very old - )

In the evening we celebrated 3 September birthdays - son Travis, son-in-law Gerry, and daughter Ashley (aka the Bride). We sat around the table enjoying raclette. Some people just can't stick with tradition and come up with new experiments for cooking at the table.
 One person commented that during one of our family get togethers he would like to sit in a corner and record the widely varying topics of conversation we engage in. 
Laughter, presents, frozen mousse chocolate cheesecake, conversation. It's all good. The saddest part was having to leave the party at 8:30 and drive 2 hours home in the dark. I hope the party continued with more laughter and fun after we left.

Today is drippy and cool with a damp breeze blowing…

Happy Birthday, Mum!

Irene and Ruth, two sisters. Lifelong best friends. I love the way they're standing with their arms around each other. And check out the lining of their sunbonnets - so cute.
Today is Ruth's 80th birthday. Ruth is my mother-in-law, a woman whom I admire very much. 

Here's Ruth again, older now, with her brother and a friend I believe. Doesn't she have a lovely smile?

Ruth graduated from nursing school in Calgary in 1953. She met her husband there, and together they had four children. My husband, Tim, is the second oldest.
Her life hasn't been easy, but the stories would take hours to tell. She's just finished writing a book about her life, and her family's history. I'm looking forward to reading it. 
Ruth's faith in God through good and not so good times is an inspiration to me. She prays for her children, her grandchildren and great-grandchildren. She lives a quiet life, but one with great influence in the prayer arena as she prays for God's people …

Inspired Ideas

There are some bloggers who have the sweetest ideas and are so willing to share them freely. Amy is one such blogger.
She's published a beautiful little online magazine chock full of simple and oh, so charming ideas. There's a link on my sidebar to the magazine itself.

This morning it took all of about 20 minutes to whip up a few of these little notebooks. They would be perfect to make with a child. And who doesn't need another place to write down lists or inspiration? I know I always keep one in my purse.
The hardest part was deciding what paper to use for the cover. I went with an autumn theme, since we're there! 
Decorated sugar cubes, a kitty trick or treat bag, rick rack flowers - these and so many more ideas, beautifully presented by Amy are sure to inspire anyone!

Sewing Project: Dress for my daughter's wedding

Blogger readers of the past year might wonder what on earth the name of my blog means because there's been little fabric, thread, or paper posts. And I've missed puttering about with my hands, making something for me to wear or for my home or as a gift. 
Now that the wedding is behind us, I hope to get into a bit of a creative groove. Of course, my "day" job (which pays nothing) as a student still takes priority, but a little time for sewing can be carved out with intention.
So here's the first project - the dress I made for Ashley and Owen's wedding. It's an adaptation of Vogue 1108. I'd read that the off-the-shoulder look was constricting to wear so I recut the bodice (three times) to make an "on-the-shoulder" outfit.

I've been a member of Pattern Review for a long time, but haven't really used that resource as I should. Today I posted my first pattern review over there. It's a step taken with much trepidation as I don't consi…

A Sunday Hike on Mount Washington

The weather report said cloudy with showers throughout the day. We decided to pack our rain gear and go anyway. There is an urgency about these lingering autumn days that beguiles us into being outdoors as much as possible.

Mount Washington is Vancouver Island's skiing destination. But below the mountain lie the  meadows, streams, muskeg, and lakes of Strathcona Provincial Park. In May we visited the park - it was still completed covered in snow.

Wooden bridges cross creeks and boardwalks of sweet smelling cedar traverse soggy alpine meadows. A few scattered wildflowers are evidence of summer's lingering presence.

A bit of climbing brought us to Lake Helen McIntyre. Reddening blueberry bushes signal the swift change to autumn that occurs this month.

Misty fog drifted across the trees. Clouds came and went as we perched on a lakeside rock to eat roast beef sandwiches, apples and dark chocolate. Mugs of hot tea from Tim's thermos were the perfect accompaniment.

This little island…

Just Down the Road

I took a different direction on my walk today. Down Lowry Road past where the asphalt ends, then across the railway tracks used just twice a day, a little further on the gravel road and there it was...Little Qualicum Cheeseworks

The Cheeseworks and Winery are both part of Morningstar Farm

This log cabin was built in the 1880s by Jim Lowry, an early pioneer and blacksmith. The cabin is closed to the public, but the owners envision a museum of cheesemaking there some day.

Across the field the cows are slowly coming home for the night. In the distance fog settles on the land. 

There are ducks, rabbits, pigs and sheep. Picnic areas are available for al fresco meals. Visitors can wander through the barns, observe the milking and the cheesemaking.
I took my walk late in the afternoon so most of the activity had ended for the day. But you can be sure I'll return to taste a little cheese and wine, watch the process of turning milk into cheese, and I will, in all likelihood, tuck a piece or…


Last night I went to a women's event. It's a weekly event and I'm hoping to make some new friends. Until now I've been busy with the wedding, and summer usually means a hiatus in many programs. This was the first meeting of a new season. 
I'm not the most outgoing person in the world - I consider myself to be shy. But I've learned to converse with strangers and although I come across as quiet, once you get to know me I can be quite boisterous. I have a sense of humour. I love nothing better than conversations that range from the serious to laughing so hard I cry.
I came home with a heavy heart last night. I know that making friends takes a long time. And I know that people who have friends are often not looking for more. But there was something missing from yesterday's meeting and I've been mulling it over today.
That missing ingredient was graciousness. From the moment I walked in the door there was little to welcome me. I felt like an outsider. No smiles…

The Little Town of Ladysmith

Scattered along the eastern coastline of Vancouver Island are a number of small towns - Duncan, Chemainus, Ladysmith, Lanztville, Parksville, Qualicum Beach. In our frequent travels down to Victoria, I've noticed that each little town has its own character.

On Friday, Tim had meetings in Ladysmith. Since we were planning to go to Victoria for the weekend, it didn't make sense for him to drive halfway there, then back again to pick me up. So I packed up my bag of books and studied in the library while he was in meetings.

Studying went well in the morning, but in the afternoon I played hooky and explored the town. Ladysmith was founded in the very early years of the 20th century although the First Nations peoples had long lived there, harvesting the rich oyster beds and forest environment. Coal mining was the impetus that fueled the town's formation in 1904 by coal baron James Dunsmuir.

The town perches on the hillside overlooking the ocean and has some extremely steep streets.…

I spoke too soon....

How could I forget the groom? And the family wedding photos? And the groomsmen? There will be more to come. For some I'll have to wait for the professional photos.
Above is the groom encouraging his nephew, the ringbearer, to walk down that long aisle. He did a great job.  The sweet flower girls were too shy.

And the four bridesmaids, standing in a pool of light. So beautiful.

Each of the groomsmen had a pocket square that matched the sashes on the bridal attendants' dresses. Don't they look handsome in their tail coats?

Although this is a bit blurred, it's a wonderful shot - the groom kicking up his heels as he and the bride walk back down the aisle after the ceremony.