Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Background

Did you notice my new background?

I stumbled across the website of a graphic artist, Karen, who creates beautiful backgrounds and teaches you how to put them on your own site! I have always wondered how people have such beautiful and creative blogs. The secret is that they are either techno-smart, or they know where to turn to for help. So, in my case, I am thrilled to have this enormously talented lady's help. And it's free! She is The Background Fairy. She also has vintage epherema-inspired clip art on her other website Graphic Fairy. I will be sure to credit her whenever I use her images.

Here are some examples:
She has an abundant collection of birds, eggs, and nests, some on greeting cards.

Then there's beautiful Spencerian penmanship, with its fluorishes and scrolls, not just text, but beautiful images, such as the leaping stag above.
And finally, since we are still in the 12 days of Christmas, I feel that it is still timely to include this adorable Christmas-y image. Karen has a huge selection of art depicting children that'll make your heart melt!
Speaking of the Twelve Days of Christmas, check out this website. Laura is on a blogging break, but has filled her absence with clever depictions from the ancient Christmas carol.
Well, now I need to go knit, birthdays coming up fast, you know...

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Dock Square, Kennebunkport

Just a fly-by post, as I am supposed to be busy with other things...;).

I promised pictures of the tree in K'port, and found quite a few. I saw one pic I thought was the best, but didn't really know how to "lift" it. As it is, I am "borrowing" the pics below, but with credit to the websites where I got them. I hope that's okay.....
This tree-topper makes me want to get out the"crackers" and melt some butter............... (Photo lifted from this website.)
This one shows the same Christmas tree, lit up in the dark --- can you see that the ornaments are lobster buoys? ( This photo came from here.) For those who are land-locked, or just not up on their lobster lore, lobstermen attach a buoy to the rope when they drop a lobster trap (sometimes also called a "lobster-pot") down onto the ocean floor. Each licensed lobstermen paints his buoys his signature pattern, so that he can find his traps when he returns to pull up the traps and harvest the "keepers". With all the color combinations, they make for colorful decorations on trees, lamp-posts, doors, and of course on the side of lobster shacks!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

As I was saying to my friends about the Country Club....

Shawl, that is... Here is the finished project. I thought I didn't have pictures, but it turns out Evan had my camera card with these pics on it. The knitting directions call it the "Country Club Shawl", but I always think of a long rectangular wrap as a stole, and then when it is a triangle, it is a shawl. Anybody want to weigh in? Is the distinction legitimate?
How do you like this year's tree-topper? The old lighted star broke last year, and we hadn't yet replaced it when Ian brought in one of his lobster-trap buoys. It made us want to decorate a whole tree with a seashore theme. Probably plenty of people should see the tree down in Dock Square in Kennbunkport, huge and decorated with lobster buoys, etc. I'll see if I can find a pic to post.
Anyway, back to the shawl/stole, Mum came to visit the night before Christmas Eve, and we had a Christmas morn with her on the 24th. She helped me with the shawl-fringeing. You can sort of see it in the second picture. She brought it back to Stratton with her and gave it to Gram for me. Apparently, she likes it- she sits with it in her lap. I'll probably call her in a day or two, when all the excitement dies down. She has had lots of visitors and festivities, and it's best to call when the house is quiet, when there is little background noise -- doesn't hear well.
Speaking of Mum.........
This dear lady is getting acquainted with her new techno-gizmo: a cell phone! And being a good sport about being photographed for the blog. The more I teased her about not having a cell phone, the more I realized how much utility she'd get out of having one. She lives in a very remote, rural area and drives through some potentially dangerous weather on a curvy, winding road alongside a river to get to doctor's appointments, pharmacies, decent grocery shopping. And let's not forget that the best way to communicate with her nearly 17-yo granddaughter is by texting. As it turned out, even though TracFone seemed to have the best coverage in her poorly-covered area when we consulted the coverage maps, her phone won't work up there! When we were trying to activate the phone, it refused to activate for her zip code. My DH Jeff called the 800# and they are going to send her a different phone for her zip. She should get it maybe Tuesday. In the meantime, she was so excited, we sent her home with one of our old TracFones. She is thrilled to be using it, and reports that she has in fact already texted Emma! Who says you can't teach Granny how to use the new-fangled contraptions!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A Lovely Christmas was had by All......

I just remarked to Honore on her blog Bygone Knits that I am using "lovely" too much and I need to vary my adjectives more. You see I have just visited most of my favorite blogs to check in with everyone's holiday, and in the spirit of sending warm Christmas greetings, I left comments. And because I appreciate the sharing, both writing and photos, I told 'most everyone that her blog is lovely, or the photos were lovely, or her children/pets were lovely, or the sentiments expressed were lovely, and in at least one case, the music was lovely. What to do? The word "lovely" for me evokes soft and gentle expressions of happy and pleasant loving feelings. And that's what my favorite blogs do for me. That's why I go back over and over.

Feel free to leave suggestions for other adjectives I can use. I'll try them out and see how they feel.

We did not travel this year and actually only had 1 family member visit. We live pretty far from our families. Sigh.... Whose idea was that? Oh, yeah, mine. Hindsight is 20/20.

Christmas is less chaotic now that the youngest in the family is almost 13. And with 3 teenage boys in the house, any holiday is less about decorating and presents and very much about the food! I should work on photographing food for this blog, because there is lots of it around and most of it is really quite pretty. I'll work on that. It's been pretty quiet here. Even the snow fell softly today. No wind or fuss, just gentle flakes drifting down. And then, as quickly as it started, it was over.
And now, late at night, I am quietly counting my blessings and thinking about heading off to bed.

Good night, all. Thanks for coming by.

Monday, December 21, 2009

OTN Update

Here is what I've been working on. First, a dishcloth and dishtowel set. Here, I demonstrate the impracticality of not planning out your project before you begin. As you see in the picture, I have completed the dishcloth and am now working on the dishtowel. Note how cleverly I have rewound my little multicolored skein into a center-pull ball and am working both sides from the two ends of yarn. Note also the tiny ball of soft yellow cotton. Raise your hand if you think that tiny ball will complete the project. If you are raising your hand now, you lose. If you are thinking that I have a second ball in my stash to join at the end of this ball, you are wrong again. I will have to go to the drug store where I bought this stuff and hope they have another one, hope the dye lots are close. If I am lucky, I will be the only one who buys cotton yarn at a drug store, and the only difference between my first purchase and my second will be an (un)healthy layer of dust. I'll let you know.
I graphed out the teacup and saucer on an Excel spreadsheet, which wasn't too hard. Used that for the dishcloth. For the dishtowel, I started by borrowing a teapot graph I found on someone's website, but then I modified it to suit my tastes. Put that on an Excel ss too. But I'm knitting the teapot top-down, so that's why it looks like only plain stockinette so far. It is.
Next up in Wendy's Knitting Follies is an example of slow learning. I had this skein of Lion Brand Magic Stripes, which you may know is discontinued. It is intended for knitting one pair of socks, and will dutifully demonstrate self-striping. If you follow the label directions. Which I didn't.
Noooooo, I had to up the anti. I wanted a little more interest. I wanted a pattern, one that wouldn't get lost in the self-striping hoopla. I chose the jaywalker. If you are on Ravelry, then you surely are familiar with the jaywalker sock. Grumperina, who designed it, lives in Cambridge, Mass. and named it so because it reminds her of jaywalking in Boston (where the traffic is often bumper-to-bumper, and you have to walk around stopped cars to jaywalk). First you go right, then left, then right again. Love the look of this sock. Love most of the knitting. I amended the cuff so that I could at least like the cuff.
You will notice that my first jaywalker sock is still OTN. You will be supposing that I haven't closed the toe because I am dreading the Kitchener stitch. Well I am, but that isn't why I didn't close the toe. The skein started out at 3.5 oz., and so, in order to have enough yarn, each sock can only consume 1.75 oz. (stay with me on the maths). Before I finished shaping the toe, I threw the remaining ball on the postal scale at work. 1.6 oz., flickering to 1.5! What! But the label promised me a pair of socks. Oh yeah, smarty pants, but not a pair of socks knit on size 1 needles and with a pattern gauge of 38 stitches to 4".......
So now, having considered my options, and remembering that the skein cost me $1.99 st a discount dump, I mean store, I am going unravel a bit and complete the toe with a solid color and then knit a second sock with a matching solid toe. The Magic Stripes, remember, have been discontinued, but Lion Brand has superwash merino with almost identical yardage per weight, so I can rescue this $1.99 pair of socks for about $5.00. The fiber content will be a little different. The Magic Stripes yarn is good for socks because it is reinforced with 25% nylon. So, I'll probably wear through the toes after all my hard work. Sigh, too bad I don't love them. They'll probably last forever (to remind me of my erring ways) and serve me well.
This next project is finally cast off and I am fringe-ing. This is the Country Club Shawl in a color called Persimmon. (inexplicably spelled Persimmion on the label) This is another discontinued discount purchase. A huge amount of yarn for a piddling price. I want to turn my nose up at it because it is all acrylic, but I can't cause it is so soft and cushy. It is a textured yarn (specifically, Red Heart Value Textured Yarn - no pretense there), and so it's really kind of fluffy, and begs to be made into something cozy. I'll show you the fringe when I'm done. Never done this before, a bit tedious.
Another view. I wish I knew how to photograph this to show you the rich color, and with less light bouncing off of it.
Well, that's all for now. All three of these projects still have more to go, so I'll be dribbling them in a bit at a time. I know you are on the edge of your seat to know how they all turn out.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Half a snack set

Here's a little arrangement I made using my unmatched snack set plate. Can you see the pretty little pressed design on the glass? Suddenly the flowers remind me of poinsettias. I feel so clever.What arrangement could you make with half a snack set? Can you see my reflection with the camera on the glass balls?

Tomorrow, I'll test my cleverness with something I have OTN and maybe I'll show you how my OTH project comes along.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Don't you wish you were me?

Yesterday, when I got home from work, I thought I was going to have to throw together a dinner for hungry, albeit grateful teenage boys. (You don't believe teenage boys show gratitude, beyond seeming to appreciate something hot and reasonably tasty to shovel into their mouths? You'd be shocked-at my house, my husband and I get thanked by each kid, at each meal! I know, I know we still stare at each other, mouths agape, each time. You never really get used to it, and I guess that's the point, that they never take it for granted either.) Well, if that little aside isn't enough to make you wish you were me, then look what I found waiting on the dining room table.

My oldest son, Ian, and the youngest one, Sean (Evan was at driving school-don't you wish you were me?) are responsible for the fact that I have pictures to document my delightful surprise and thus have a blog-post to share with you. You see, I was given a new digitial camera for my birthday, almost 3 weeks ago, and being a bit of a technophobe, I hadn't tried it. I'm one of those people who wants to read the entire manual, before I do anything with whatever the techno-gizmo is. This is my mother's fault. Every Christmas, we took pictures of her puzzling over such acts of wizardry as "setting her new watch", and.....well, I don't know what else, but you know what I mean. Let me just say, she has never owned a cell phone. Last week, however, she achieved a milestone: she e-mailed a link. No, really. Now do you see what I mean?
So, anyway, the boys wouldn't let me open what was in the box, until we had the camera fired up and ready to document the process (since my argument for wanting a new digital cam was that I am, after all, a blogger.)
This is the part where I sheepishly admit that, after diss-ing my mother for her techno-backward ways, she was in fact the giver of the gifts herein! (Shame on me....)

That pic above is another look to emphasize the gorgeous presentation by the folks at Victorian Trading Company. I am sure that Mum paid extra for gift-wrap, and they did a fine job. Those boxes are not actually gift-wrapped but gorgeous decorated and re-usable boxes. The little card is scrumptious and a fine example of the Victorian ephemera reproductions they do so well. Mum introduced me to their catalog years ago, and I curl up with it with almost as much anticipation as I do with some of my favorite magazines. I am the lucky owner of only a small handful of their products, but my Wish List is a mile long.
This is what I found inside: Don't you wish you were me?

It took my breath away! I told you in a previous post about my ambivalence for tea-for-one sets, but I have yet to bore you with, I mean share with you how charming I find these little snack sets. I mean you can have a light lunch or a snack with them. Can you picture anything from a humble grilled-cheese sandwich with a cup of tomato soup to tea and cake served on such a set? What about a donut and hot cider? Coffee and a bagel? tea and crumpets? tea and muffins? tea and your-favorite-pastry-here? I love them! They always remind me of having a cosy tete-a-tete. (I wish I knew how to type in the proper accent grave.)At Goodwill last year, I picked up a plate for about $1, but alas no matching cup, but no matter, I mix-and-match with other teacups and this fall, I found a new re-use. I put a pillar candle on it, with a little dried arrangement on the body of the plate and it looks fab on my windowsill.
Okay, not the greatest picture, just me playing with new cam.
Don't you wish you were me? New camera, early Christmas present, and by now, husband in the kitchen making grilled cheese sandwiches and tomato soup...
No? Not yet? Holding out for more?
I left out the part about 12-year-old son forgetting for a minute to be a sullen near-teen and freely giving me a welcoming hug and kiss. And the merry Cocker Spaniels, who always behave as if your arrival is the best thing all day. (Every breed description of Cocker Spaniels uses the adjective "merry" to describe their personality, and what can I say, they really are. Makes you wonder how they will out-do their usual to celebrate Christmas....)
So, Okay, if you still don't wish you were me.................
There was more!!!!
The teapot, with birds, red-and-white transferware, and don't miss the hand-painted flourish on the spout! What's not to love?
When are you coming over for tea and cake?
Have a really good day anyway, since you can't be me. Only I can be me. Just sayin'.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kitchen Kitsch: OTH

Here's a quiz: do you remember what OTH means?

OTH: I have made a couple of dishcloths with Bernat Handicrafter Cotton in "Cottage" and Lily's Sugar and Cream in Ecru. The pattern is from the Coats and Clark website.
I hope this is the last of my not-so-good pictures, but I have a feeling that there are more to come as I make my way through my birthday-cam learning curve.

And I am making dishtowels to go with. Same yarns. Pattern is Dorothea Dishcloth on the Lion Brand Yarns website. Do you get the feeling that I surf the yarn websites a lot? I just love the stripes, they seem so old-fashioned, although I can't imagine why something as simple as stripes should belong to any one era.
I have finished this one, and I need to get started on the opposite one, you know crocheting with the multicolor as the main color and the ecru as the contrasting stripe. These were originally going to be for someone whose birthday is past...should I skip the birthday present and make it a Christmas present? Sigh....I like to give handmade, but I'm so slooooow at finishing projects. And they are so simple and should go quickly.
Update: I have hooked on the 2nd dishtowel, this morning, on the ride into work (I am a passenger, don't worry. I also eat breakfast and put on make-up, while riding.) Is "hooked on" the right term for crocheting? I am more used to casting on when speaking of knitting. This project is taking a ridiculously long time. The intended recipient had a birthday on Nov. 2. Shhhh...don't tell. I wish I were one of those people who had lovely handmade gifts for everyone by Christmastime, but sadly, that clearly won't happen this year. I wish I were at least one of those people who sends out birthday cards on time. Or who sends out birthday cards. And Christmas cards. I really need to try harder. For now it's all I can do to stop typing and click "Publish Post". Here goes.

On the Needles, On the Hook

Let's get something straight now: in knitting circles (which can be round, but aren't always), "OTN" means "on-the-needles", used to refer to WIPs (works-in-progress). Knitters and crocheters in blog-land rarely wait for a FO (finished object) to tell you about it. After all, once it is done, (and usually before) our minds are excitedly thinking about the next project, and burning with creativity. The FOs? They are old news, either pressed into use, mailed off to a giftee, or awaiting the tedium of loose ends or blocking, the last un-interesting steps between OTN and FO.

So what have I got OTN? Well, let me start by saying if you are an active knitter/crocheter, you may already have a Ravelry account. If you don't, I recommend it (with the usual reservations: it is addictive, in the way any good hobby community website is). If you do, you can see my projects, by seeking out WendyBee.

Right now, OTN, I am using a vintage pattern to make my grandmother the Country Club shawl. It's kind of silly to use a pattern, since it is really just a knitted rectangle. But the pattern has served as the inspiration anyway. And since there is a certain amount of adjusting for gauge.. I loooooove vintage patterns! But sometimes their utility is limited to inspiration only. For one thing, most patterns are published by yarn companies, specifically for the yarns they carry. Well, need I say that virtually none of the yarns used in vintage patterns are currently available, and substitutions can be very tricky. Nonetheless, I find the photographs very inspiring.

Now, the Country Club shawl calls for American Thread Company“Dawn” Permanent “Crimp Set” Nylon or “Dawn” Pompadour or “Dawn” Infants Wool or “Dawn” Baby Yarn, but I happened to have on hand a lovely russet red synthetic yarn (Red Heart Value Textured Yarn). I looked on the Red Heart website, and can't find it , so it must be discontinued, and on its way to becoming vintage. That's probably why I ended up with it: it was marked down to a ridiculously low clearance price, and I can't resist a bargain yarn, expecially when it is as soft and cushy as this one is. The low price helps me to forgive it for not being a natural luxury fiber. Because it is textured (i.e. fluffy), the yarn puffs out in the stitch, and so it doesn't have the lacy look illustrated in the picture, nor does it drape the same way. But, it is lush and cushy and cuddly, so it's perfect for living in a cold climate. The funny part is that my grandmother, who is 89 years old, may not even own a shawl. I hope she'll use it and feel like I'm giving her a warm hug. But I picture her thinking that shawls are for old ladies. She always has cared about fashion and adopted the latest styles. While shawls are quite fashionable now, she may not know it--I hope I can convince her.........

I'll quit here for I'll bore you ad nauseum about the kitchen dishcloths and dishtowels I have OTH and OTN.


Today is the first Sunday in Advent. The season of Advent precedes Christmas, and in the church it is the beginning of the calendar year. It is a time to prepare one's heart for the coming of the Messiah. John the Baptist foretold his coming, urging repentance and baptism by water.
The modern church celebrates 4 Sundays in Advent, the 4 weeks before Christmas. Each Sunday focuses on a theme: Hope, Peace, Love, and Joy
Today's theme is Hope.

In early European customs, the winter solstice season was marked by bringing in evergreens and lighting candles, symbolizing the continuing existence of life in the evergreens despite the bleak and cold landscapes, and light in the darkness.
Later, the Roman Catholic church began to use the custom of evergreen wreaths and candles to teach the Advent story. Very clever, really.
Now, we see all kinds of Advent countdown items, usually used to help children survive the interminable countdown to Christmas. A lot of times the focus is on gifts, toys, and candies. As much as I understand the draw, I sometimes feel that the secular world is stealing from the tradition of religion. The irony is that the Advent wreath is an example of the religious world stealing from the secular!
Here's a candelabra image I found incorporating the nativity imagery.
No sweets, toys, or Santa Claus here.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giving Thanks

I hope everyone is having a lovely Thanksgiving holiday. This is definitely my favorite holiday of the year, I think. It's hard to choose, what with Easter and Christmas on the calendar. But today, it's all about feast and family. Today, it's just my immediate family, no travelling, but there will be "family-by-fone".

I miss so many people in my family. We don't live in the same city as anyone in either my family or my husband's. We definitely feel that was a mistake, to settle in an area away from everyone we love. We have missed so many important events, from births to deaths, and all the everyday stuff in between.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Whew! It has been awhile! I've so often thought of sitting down and posting and then got busy with something more urgent.
So, I'm sitting down with my fourth cup of tea...I make mine rather weak and it's cold today....and finally getting to the posting.
Today, I've been doing a lot of browsing through my pictures and clip art, knowing that going through images I like will prompt me to write about things that are interesting (to me anyways).
I'll start with tea-for-one sets. I can't decide if I like them or not.... On the one hand, they are adorable in shape and therefore pleasing to the eye. They are the product of innovation and creativity. They are practical. They can be quirky, whimsical and nostalgic. They are a reminder to the individual to pamper one's self a little. On the other hand, they can remind the lonely that they are alone. Or the alone that they are lonely. They are not meant for sitting down with a friend for a cuppa and a chat. For that you need a bigger pot and 2 cups and saucers. Oh, and better yet, a plate of cakes and cookies! Makes you want to put your feet up, doesn't it? curled up in a wing chair?
But we are in a new age and if I had a tea-for-one set, I think I'd use it for sitting down at my laptop and checking e-mail, and writing posts here, and then all the up-sides would out-weigh the down-sides.
This is my harvest centerpiece::I slaved over it for at least 5 minutes on Wednesday, when I was home with the boys on Veteran's Day. I usually go to the parade, but didn't this year. Not for lack of respect for our Vets- just needed puttering time at home.
I also took the picture of the roses that I have on my dining room sidetable. I wish I were better at styling and taking pics. They are breath-taking and would have made a much nicer picture in someone else's hands.
I'm going to use them as an excuse to tell you about a cheery and stylish lady named Kay. Kay was on the staff at a school I attended in the 1980's. She was probably in her 50's (looked much younger), and was impeccably mannered and socially gracious beyond anyone I can think of. She was always enthusiastic about whatever she did, and very professional in her role. I remember she once told me that she adored autumn colors. At that time, I was firmly entrenched in pastel blue, the way some people are about purple. I remember thinking how reassuring it was that Kay did indeed have a flaw. Everything about her seemed so perfect and well-groomed and tasteful. And then to discover that she loved autumn golds, reds, oranges and even browns. Well, that did it for me. Kay was inexplicably flawed in my mind. Now, keep in mind, that having survived the '70's and its fascination with orange and browns ("natural" colors), harvest golds and avacado greens, (think household appliances and vinyl flooring), I and many like me were rejecting all things macrame and hippy in home dec and fashion. This was an era of big hair and "jewel" tones, Dynasty and Falcon Crest. Everything was blue-based, even the pinks and greens. The popular neutrals were no longer ecru and ivory and beige, but instead any shade of gray. Green virtually disappeared in favor of "teal", a color label which, while appropriately assigned to shades of blue-green, seems to have widely supplanted "turquoise" even for aqua shades that are exactly the shade of the semi-precious stone. I feel like I "date" myself to use that color name now.
Anyway, back to Kay, she is likely retired now, and I hope is enjoying the fall foliage wherever she may be. And now, guess who is the autumn color enthusiast? Of course, it's me...and since I also love vintage aprons and hearts and flowers and the smell of laundry dried on the line, how perfect is this little vignette?

I bought this apron on ebay, couldn't resist. It is well-made and clearly was a gift for a young girl, based on the size. Can't you just picture her, rolling out the dough for her first apple pie? Or maybe making holiday cookies with cutters and sprinkling colored sugar on top. Or maybe it wasn't baking at all, maybe she was trying to learn how to fry an egg, how to flip it without breaking the yolk, to give Daddy his eggs over easy just the way he likes them. I remember my grandmother telling me that if you could fry an egg just right, you were really on your way....
On a different note, I have finally photographed my cocker spaniel Tammy in her sweater. I made it almost a year ago and finally have a pic to post on my ravelry page. You shoulda been here for the photo shoot - it was hilarious. Tammy turned into a quivering lump of Jello! She gets so nervous when she doesn't know what you expect of her. And being a dog of very small brain, she rarely knows what you expect of her. I bring my outdoor urns into the dining room to allow the geraniums to winter over. There are buds on that plant, and if the sun streaming through opens them, I'll be sure to get a picture.....
Speaking of my "ravelry" page, if you aren't familiar, it's an online knitting and crocheting community, an endless resource of patterns, projects and advice, as well as a way for each member to catalog successes and failures. I don't have a picture up on my profile, since I don't have one that makes me look like Marilyn Monroe. I found an image today that I'll be using, and wanted to share it with you.

I think I looked a little like that a few centuries ago.....I certainly had homemade calico dresses and pinafores and maryjanes and little white socks, and a love for my dolls.
That's all for now..................tempis fugit.....................................

And the roses are fading on the vine................................
Maybe I should have used this image for my profile, since I aspire to age gracefully. I seem to have the sagging and wilting and drooping thing down pat.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Goody O'Grumpity

I don't have any young children at home any more. In fact, my youngest son is 12 and hard on the heels of 13 years old. I have had a children's story book for years, and have always thought that I would use the recipe to bake the cake in the story. I still haven't done it. But maybe this is the year I'll try it.

When I first took this book out at the local public library several years ago, I loved it so much that I had to buy my own copy. I don't remember how many copies I bought, maybe it was just 2 or 3, but it could have been as many as 5. And I remember telling the manager of the local bookstore (where I had to order them) that they really should have a copy on the shelves, and I think she listened.

Take a look: Goody O'Grumpity by Carol Ryrie Brink, with illustrations by Ashley Wolff. Maybe it appeals to me because I grew up so close to the Plimoth Plantation Living Museum. And when I was in high school, we staged The Crucible by Arthur Miller, and wore authentic costumes borrowed from Plimoth Plantation. (I played Goody Proctor.) But I think it's the story told about the warm heart an older lady (who isn't grumpity at all) has for the colony's children that appeals to me. And the amazing artwork, linocuts and watercolors. If you have any feeling for this autumn season and its harvest, for a feeling of community and sharing, if you too enjoy taking a moment to feel your heart swell with gratitude for all God has given us, I think this storybook will touch you. You don't need to have a child in your arms to enjoy reading a good children's book, but it helps. And a rocking chair doesn't hurt either......

If you try the cake, let us know how it comes out, and I'll do the same.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Come sit with me a minute, and we'll chat over a cup of tea......It occured to me that while I am striving to bring you lovely pictures that I have styled and taken myself, in the meantime, I could share with you some of the lovely images I have collected in my clip art file. Most are free samples I have downloaded from can go there too and get on the e-mail list. They send links to free samples every Friday.

I am very partial to old-fashioned nostalgic images, the more sentimental, the better....

I also love to save images of lovely fabrics....

It costs less than buying the fabric, and takes up less room, but you can't fondle and let it inspire you to make something with it right away.

Today, we did more yardwork, raking leaves to be exact. The sky was crystal clear with only lilting breezes, which didn't interfere with the work at hand. It was about 60 degrees, just cool enough to be comfortable as we exerted ourselves.

I took pictures, but you've already seen some from last week, and none are as cute as this. Remember push mowers? Much quieter, but far more work.... I want a green dress like this one with tiny puffed sleeves and a little white Peter Pan collar. Of course, I'd have to bob my hair like that. It's actually close now but without the bangs. And it's blonde. I wouldn't complain about the red dress either.

Here is a picture I took today. Self-portrait in shadow. See all the leaves we never even got to. So many of our trees still look like the one below, still hanging on to all their leaves, taunting us, threatening to drop them only after we have snow on the ground!
Here is another fabric I love. The range of colors, so vibrant, the leaves, the flowers. Both swatches I've shown here were at the JoAnn's website at one time, among the quilting cottons. They are in the Stonehill Collection.
I like to blog about seasonal things, holidays and changing weather, etc. One challenge about blogging in October is Halloween. I have a love/hate relationship with Halloween. On the one hand, I love candy and parties and the fantasy of costumery. On the other hand, I hate the original and ongoing fascination with evil and the underworld. I have zero tolerance for blood, gore, terror and torment. I feel a need to resist indulging natural human curiosity. I abhor legitimizing occult and paranormal phenomenon. Everyday life is exciting and uncertain enough for me. Now, having said all that, I have found some vintage ephemera clip art that is as cute as buttons! So, even though I didn't think I would be posting anything even remotely acknowledging Halloween, I think this image of a card makes great October eye candy!

She even looks like a little like I did when I was a chubby little cherubic child. Unruly blonde hair, chubby cheeks, and I even had a black cat named Imp.

Later, I had a black cat named Alley Oop.

And then I had a black cat named Andy. I lost Andy's litter mate Amos when he was only 1 year old to FIP. (Feline Infectious Peritonitis) Andy was with us for about 17 years, and we just buried him in June of 2005. It wasn't intentional to always have black cats. It just seemed that black cats were always available to us when we were ready.

Now we have dogs, and I loooove having dogs, but nothing cuddles like a kitty, relaxing you with its purr and kneading, rubbing against your legs when you are in the kitchen. I know some people have dogs and cats at the same time, but it would take some work and constant supervision to get our dogs used to a cat, where we could feel comfortable leaving them all at home alone while we were away for the day.

Well, I hope you've enjoyed our little cuppa and the chat..........

Now, I'm going to go up and change into a comfy nightie and curl up with......hmmmm............Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility before I turn out the lamp settle in for a snooze, resting up for another busy week. Come back again soon, I'll load up more eye candy!