Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Corners of My Home

A little peek . . .

at two of my Christmas trees.

Don't eat the candy canes!

Merry Christmas to all.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

A Golden Harvest

The bees have done so much work this summer. And now, in autumn, our neighbor returns to harvest the honey.

Some of the frames were almost empty. I think the additional levels of frames were added a bit too soon. Next year we'll wait a bit longer.

Jimmy took some frames for harvesting with a centrifuge. He left several levels for the bees' winter home and food.

And he gave this frame to me to harvest by hand. You can see the caps on top of the honeycomb. I scraped those off very lightly. The honey just glistens! I'm so grateful to the bees and want to give them more flowers in their garden next year.

These jars are from my harvesting efforts.

The honey is light and delicate. So beautiful.
A sweet golden harvest.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

A little 'Inchie' book

This has been my obsession over the past week.

It's a little 'inchie' book -- 2 1/2" tall and 1 1/2" wide. (Although I think an 'inchie' is really an inch-square collage. But anyway.) When I saw this project at the Stampington website, I just had to try it. Right then. At 5: 45 a.m.

I put it together using materials on hand. So some of the pages are rather boldly patterned papers, but I think they work. This is maybe my favorite spread -- with the tiny ferris wheel on one side.

I love this page with Mr. Lincoln, too.

Each page is a little collage, and I found the size to be so right for a project to turn back to again and again in the spare moments of my days. And I can't wait to do another. Maybe one for Christmas? What do you think?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Little bundles

The garden is in its late autumn beauty now: seed heads mark where the full garden glory once stood.

The larch tree has dropped its needles, and a few fallen branches with cones are treasures to me.

The feverfew and lady's mantle are a froth of dried flowers at the edges of the beds. Rosemary and thyme offer still-green beauty; the rose gives its loveliness.

I gather bits of the garden into little bundles to bring inside. I'm not ready to say goodbye.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

In the Autumn Garden

Amber hydrangeas

Little pepper ornaments

The angel with one wing

Monday, October 12, 2009

A Project, Completed, in Season

As the season turns, I need to put away my farmers' market bag project -- juicy peach print + green-and-white polka dot fabrics -- and turn to the fall/winter schemes. This little bag is an Amy Butler Frenchy handbag, using a squishy green chenille-like fabric for the body and a cute-cute bear print (Japanese fabric) for the upper part. I cut the pieces out last year but never sewed them together before the season changed again.

So, with fall here quite officially (both calendar and temperature say it's autumn), I took the pieces from the sewing armoire and put them together. I used the longer handles of the Frenchy shoulder bag and the smaller body of the Frenchy handbag.

The button is decoration; it mimics the pleats of the bag. I'm loving this bag.

Next up: finishing the curtain for the patio door (fabric purchased 4 years ago; cut out last year). Then, on to some holiday sewing projects, to get ahead of the season for once!

Are you finishing up any projects from long ago?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thrifty Thursday: Vintage books

Of the many things I search for at the thrift or at garage sales -- rickrack, vintage ephemera, dishes, always dishes -- old books seem the easiest find. Here's a stack from the last few weeks.

Anchoring is the red book with gold: 'New Dictionary of Thoughts.' Well, that should cover about everything, I suppose! In case I need more guidance, there's 'Amy Vanderbilt's Complete Book of Etiquette.' Useful info, like how to address the children of a Baron. ("All the sons of a Baron and their wives have the title Honourable. The daughters of a Baron also have the title Honourable," fyi.)

Isn't this a lovely book? 'Complete Book of Needlecraft,' c. 1959. And it is compete, I must say. Knitting, crochet, embroidery, quilting, rugmaking, tatting -- all the needlecrafts I could imagine ever attempting.

What really revs my creative engines, though, are foreign language dictionaries. This one is special: it is a Spanish - German dictionary: 'Suer Spanische Konversations-Grammatik.' No copyright date, but quite old -- the German words are in calligraphy -- love that!

Don't you love old books? I'm wanting to do some altered books this winter. . . . after the flannel quilt is finished, the patio door curtain is done, and some wristlets are made. Too few hours in the day for us dreamers.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Sewing Round in Circles

I got a song, it ain’t got no melody
I’ma gonna sing it to my friends
I got a song, it ain’t got no melody
I’ma gonna sing it to my friends

Will it go round in circles?
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?
Will it go round in circles?
Will it fly high like a bird up in the sky?

lyrics by Billy Preston

potholders sewn on 'Ginette' from pattern found in Handmade Home, Amanda Soule

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Linen, lace, and mother-of-pearl buttons

Sewing again!

This is my take on the wonderful linen bags I've seen in Japanese craft books. I love how soft and scrunchy the linen becomes as I use this bag.

And this was the right bag for some vintage mother-of-pearl buttons that I'd been hording, er, collecting for a while now.

Oh, and I love to do a hanging, quilted pocket inside for my cell phone . . . and to do a little patch or two on the inside of the handles, for just a glimpse of what's inside.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My assistant

This may be why I can't get things done!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thrifty Thursday

Oh, it's been a good thrifting week! I've got a couple of photos to share with you today . . . more next Thursday.

First are these old handcolored prints: Eggs. Amazing to find at a garage sale! When I walked up and spotted them on the grass, leaning against some large plastic toys, I thought, 'Those I want. Those I want. My price is $5.00 each.' (I'm not a big spender.)

Do you do that? Set a price in your head before you find out what the asking price is?

Well, happy me. The price was $3.00 each. I took the 'protective' wrap off the one on the left because it was torn and grody. Hoping to find my stash of old frames . . . where did I store those?? . . . or to find some suitable frames at the thrift.

And let's not overlook the fab-o oil lamp in the center. That beauty was at the Inn Shop, the consigment shop at the Historical Society here. My husband said 'I want that.' No problem. It's lovely and old and the base is a wonderful, heavy turquoise glass.

And not to rush the season, but Happy Halloween! This grinning goblin-man with his jack-o-lantern was made by Monnie Wilson, a paper mache artist in Wisconsin. I was so happy to rescue him from the detritus of that particular garage sale. He looks happy to be here.

How about you? Any fun finds lately?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Life is Just a Bowl of Cherries

I love cherries.

I heard on public radio the other day that the cherry crop this year is abundant. All the cherry trees bloomed at the same time and so all the cherries are ripe for market at the same time. And cherries from the northwest are flooding the stores and are very cheap.

Unfortunately, not cheap around here.

I could eat bowls of cherries by myself. And I have.

On the little farm back in Michigan, my Grandpa had planted many fruit trees: lots of apple trees, a couple of pears, and some cherry trees. In the yard behind the house were the cherries. By the time my parents bought the house and all of us kids were born, only three cherry trees remained. Two were those dark sweet cherries – maybe Bing – and one was the yellow with red blush. The trees were great for climbing all summer; the massive lower limbs seemed arranged just right for our bare feet and grasping hands.

The best time to climb, of course, was when the cherries were ripe. Sometimes I’d climb up the tree, pick cherries, and eat them right up there, spitting the pits across the weedy lawn.

We'd pick and pick the cherries, and have large serving bowls of cherries in the fridge. And Mom would can the cherries and in the winter we'd have bowls of soft, syrupy cherries for dessert. Or when I'd feign illness and stayed home from school, I'd open a jar of those cherries, sneak it upstairs, and eat all the cherries, right from the jar. And then feel slightly ill.

I'd do it again.

I love cherries.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Thrifty finds

Don't you love the tin! It's the Queen Elizabeth. Found it one day, and then the red box the next. I heart hearts.

I'd like to eat a couple of Benson's 'Quality Confections' right now.

Or maybe have a cigar? Cigar boxes, to be used as storage or maybe altered at some point. . . .

Actually, it's time for lunch . . . maybe I can find a recipe or two in the 'Electric Refrigerator Recipes and Menus -- SPECIALLY PREPARED FOR THE GENERAL ELECTRIC REFRIGERATOR.'

Copyright 1927, original price two dollars (which seems like a lot for back then).

Bonus of handwritten recipes tucked inside -- I especially like that the recipe for Egg Spatzen was written on a scrap of MARSHALL FIELD & COMPANY paper.

Would you join me for an Informal Luncheon? I'll serve salad greens and dressing or maybe a jellied soup stock, kept in a covered glass jar in my fancy General Electric refrigerator.

And we can have frozen whipped cream on our dessert -- maybe even delicately tinted pink green or yellow. Fancy.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Remembering sound

The white coneflower and the Rudbeckia maxima right next to the beehive have never stood so tall. Is it the sound of buzzing coming from deep inside the hive that prompts them to grow so happily?

The first day that the hive was in the garden, I stood close to it and listened to the buzzing. I’d heard that buzz before – constant, insistent, low. I was transported back to my childhood – a foggy distant memory of Grandpa George and his beehives.
The hives were not in the small apple orchard that stood between our house and Grandpa and Grandma’s house. They were in the far-off orchard that was tucked back beyond the grape yard. The bees were there to pollinate the orchard and grapes, I suppose; I don’t remember any harvest of honey. I do remember the buzzing and the heat of a summer’s day and riding with Grandpa in his old pickup.

Memory is connected with our senses and I’m often taken back on the wings of scent – the smell of apple blossoms, of cinnamon and yeast, of muguet de bois and Coppertone and line-dried sheets.

But the sounds of memory -- harder for me to summon up. I'm mulling this one over.
What are your sounds of memory?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Patterns in the garden

On a quiet Sunday morning, finding patterns in the garden:

stripes . . .

and dots . . .

It's my favorite time of the week.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Festooning the nest

A little corner of my 'studio'

bedecked with thrifted ribbons and beads.

We all like to festoon our nests.