Friday, October 31, 2014

October Gathering

October. My favorite month of the year. Summer flowers linger as foliage changes and tree fruit ripens. The air seems to ripen along with the apples into sweet, golden days perfect for long walks. Then come the rains that freshen the earth and make my heart turn inside to candle and fire light, cozy wraps and another blanket on the bed.

October. Nights are cooler and warming scents and food welcome. Apple cake, fresh bread rising, cinnamon and orange simmering on the stove. Hearty soups and all those delicious squashes.  Thanksgiving dinner. Loved ones gathered round. Thanks be to God.

October. Glowing pumpkins, rustling leaves, children laughing. Baking cookies with two little girls, encouraging a little man as he begins to explore his world. A bit of sewing, reading, gardening.

October flaps its wings and lifts off. Whoosh. Away. Beautiful days are now a memory. 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

A Festive Evening

I have never done much for Halloween, but three small pumpkins from here and there in the house were somehow transformed into grinning jack o'lanterns. The smallest one is about 3 inches high.

We're busy on Friday night and I really wanted to see the little ones in their costumes so we held a practice trick or treat last night. Even Nana got inspired. I thought how much fun it would be to dress up and surprise the little girls when I opened the door. A thrift shop white shirt transformed quickly into a pirate's shirt, topped with a vest I've had since forever, slim pants and riding boots. A head scarf and eye patch finished the look. All done in 90 minutes.

I lit the pumpkins and waited for a few minutes until I heard a soft "trick or treat" at the door. Surprise! A flamenco dancer stood there, baffled at all that was going on. She liked the treats that ended up in her bag, though.

Next came Queen Elsa with her sparkly blue dress and long braid. She knew all about trick or treating. 

The cutest octopus ever came along with Elsa. Eight little striped legs and a hat with big eyes. Such sweetness. I look at this photo and my heart swells with love and gratitude. 

Today is my birthday. We're having a big celebration next weekend with the three of us who have birthdays close together. But when Elsa's mother suggested a card for Nana, Elsa thought a cake might be better. So they made a small cake for last night, just enough for all of us to have a little slice. I feel very spoiled.

It's good to give into whimsy at times, don't you think? I had such fun dressing up last night. Playing along with the little ones makes me smile inside. Pure delight. 


Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Giving Credit Where Credit is Due

The internet is a marvelous place, full of ideas and inspiration that's free for the taking. I have certainly benefited from designers, home decorators, sewists and crafters who generously contribute to this sea of information. When I use someone's idea I try to give credit with a link and/or leave a comment on her site. Isn't that the polite thing to do?

In the past couple of days I've had well over 500 downloads of my Autumn Apple pattern that's free on the Craftsy site. I'm still scouting around trying to find out how so many people even found the pattern. I found one link that has used much of my text as his/her own and then linked to the pattern without ever saying that I am the pattern creator.

It's discouraging. I debated taking the pattern down, but what would that accomplish? I'm happy that others find the pattern attractive and I hope there are lots of happy autumn apples out there.

The faux fur cowl scarf is also popular, and a free download for anyone signed up on Craftsy (which in itself is free).  But you know, it would be nice if someone said thank you occasionally. As I think about this, a little voice reminds me that I don't always go and thank bloggers whose ideas/patterns/tutorials I've used. I want to be more conscientious about this. 

This floral felt crown is another pattern I worked on over the summer. Both the little misses have one and look so adorable wearing them. This pattern was a lot more work than the others and I'm charging a small amount for it on Craftsy.

Clouds are sailing fast across the sky this morning. Leftovers from Hurricane Ana that washed over Hawaii earlier. Rain and wind during the night. A good day for tea and a candle. That will have to wait. I'm off to teach this morning.

I'd love to know your thoughts on the sharing/crediting aspect of the Internet. How do you handle this issue?

Sunday, October 26, 2014

To Rain or not to Rain....

The mostly wet weekend dried into brilliant sunshine mid-afternoon. Off we went to Rithet's Bog, not far from our home. You'll notice the colour of the leaves and the blue skies above.

But that's not all we saw. A grey squirrel chattered in a tree and paused long enough for a quick photo before scampering up and away.

Through the darkest part of the trail where trees hide the light and the forest floor is cushioned with needles, then across the little bridge and onto a small quiet street where a few snapdragons glow brightly.

Up a small rise and the view stretches beyond the bog to more houses and a cloud-scudded sky.

A soft chic chic had me looking around until I spotted this Black-chinned hummingbird not too far away. He stayed still longer than usual and I was able to get a few photos.

The Mallards are happy now that the bog is filling with rainwater. They paddle about, dive and bob up again, and come in a hurry if someone brings them seeds to eat.

The loop is done and it's time to head home again, jackets unzipped, replete with sunshine, ready for whatever rain may come.

Linking to Mosaic Monday, hosted by Judith of Lavender Cottage. 



Friday, October 24, 2014

Five on Friday

Aaah. It's Friday afternoon. Grey outside, but when I walked into the house, the gas fireplace glowed welcome. A cup of tea and a page through a magazine is on the agenda soon.

2. This weekend I'm hoping to make wine-poached pears. Delicious and warming served in a puddle of creme anglaise. 

3. Good scents. Over the year I dry orange, mandarin and lemon peels to use in a stove top simmer mix that makes the house smell lovely. Rosemary, cinnamon sticks, cloves, allspice, cardamon pods, and a bay leaf. Mmmm.

4. This weekend there's cleaning and laundry to attend to since I've been teaching most of the week. But I'm hoping for a little time to tackle a sewing project. If it works, I'll let you know. 

5. And surely there will be time for starting this book, taken out of the library on my way home today. The convenience of being able to order books online, receiving an email when they've arrived, and dashing in to pick them up cannot be overstated. Bloggers are so generous with letting others know what they're reading and I hardly ever just browse the shelves any more because my list of want-to-reads continues to grow.

There will likely be a walk or two, perhaps in the rain, along with the more homey activities that delight in these autumn days. For now, I'm headed off to put my feet up, read that magazine and sip a cup of tea before attending to supper (chicken ginger soup - already in the fridge). 

Do you have plans for the weekend? I'd love to hear them. 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Light and Dark

The sun shone last weekend and the temperatures had us looking at the calendar wondering what month it really was. 
I cut these glowing dahlias and brought them indoors.

They grace my mantel, a reminder of the last golden October weekend.

On Monday I took a walk around the Bog. Clouds rolled in and a few fat raindrops fell, a portent of things to come. I arrived home to listen to the news of an attack on two soldiers in Montreal.  One of them died.

The wind howled around the corners of the house last night and rain drove hard against the window panes. I dropped Tim off for a flight to Vancouver in the early morning darkness then turned on the radio as I drove home. News of the shooting of another soldier. Captain Nathan Cirillo, part of the honour guard at the National War Memorial, father of one little boy, dead. It's his name I want to remember, not that of his murderer. 

May God keep our land glorious and free.

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

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