Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Cottage Caretaking

February school break has come and gone leaving mom with her head spinning. Numerous play dates, doctor visits, dentist appointments, late night TV watching, bowling competitions, and more pizza than I care to remember have left their mark. So once those dear little student bodies half dragged themselves to school on Monday I set out to reclaim the house! After taking stock of the situation it was determined a good deal of scrubbing and sorting would be in order. And it seems I wasn't the only one with some housekeeping on her mind...

...for Lily Red was hard at work over at Wayside Cottage! With apron on and broom in hand she tackled each and every corner of the place. By mid-morning the cottage had been cleared of all its' jumble.

No sooner had the broom been set to rest than Lucy popped in for a visit, as was becoming their habit. "Oh, I'm ever so happy to see you," said Lily Red. "And what good fortune you've brought your scissors along as I'm ready to start unpacking my things. If you'd be kind enough to help by cutting the twine I'd be forever grateful!"

Lucy of course was more than happy to assist her friend. Luckily, Lily Red had a ladder (previously employed to reach the ceiling cobwebs) and so Lucy was able to reach just the right spot to make the perfect cut.

As the twine tumbled down Lily Red was able to pull away the lid and finally release the contents of the box. A lift top desk and a four poster bed were revealed along with some smaller treasures. Lucy relished hearing all about them. She was most interested in a portrait painting which Lily Red explained was of a very famous author. "Someday I hope to be an author just like he was," explained Lily Red. " I've even got the tools of the trade, a journal and a favorite pencil. With them I'm going to write about our adventures to come!"

Before long everything was tidied up. Lucy was hoping to cut some wire to hang the painting but Lily Red wanted to wait. "You may think me attempting to be a Renaissance Woman, but I do believe in addition to becoming an author, I'll try my hand at painting...walls that is! "

Monday, February 9, 2009

Bits and Pieces of the Weekend Past

What a vast improvement a working furnace can make to one's weekend! Free from the coats, blankets, and five foot radius around the portable heater, I was amazed how much I as able to accomplish. First a little TLC was given to my sewing nook. I've actually surprised myself at how well I've been able to maintain the orderliness I worked so hard to achieve during my "Where I Create" overhaul last fall. My main goal this time was to dig current works-in-progress out of a hutch in my bedroom and find a more "inspirational" method to store them...one that would not foster the "out of sight, out of mind" dilemma. The stairwell banister proved to be an excellent solution! By draping an old baby's quilt over it I can even pin up smaller projects so as to keep track of them. It's my very own little design wall and production line all in one.

Having re-discovered these pastel nine patch squares I made several years ago I set to work making a mini quilt top out of them. Several weeks ago Humble Needle posted a great tutorial on making the tidiest mitered corners when attaching the binding to a quilt. I've wanted to try it out ever since I saw it...and soon I should be able to!

I've also been wanting to acquire a book I read about over at Blueberry Cottage, "The Country Diary of an Edwardian Lady" by Edith Holden. What luck it was for me to accompany my husband to a "new" old bookstore he discovered several towns over, for not only did I find that treasure but another little gem too, "Cottage Gardener" by Jackie Bennett. The illustrations in both are quite beautiful although one of them in particular almost negated the sale in it's entirety. . .
. . . for wouldn't you know it, my first flip through Holden's book landed me on page 50 where I was introduced to the Adder who is apparently "very plentiful in some parts of England." Oh where are those wellies when you need them! Luckily I was soon distracted by Bennett's sweet pea trellis suggestion.
Speaking of England, did I ever mention I finally acquired the long sought for Christmas issue of the British Country Living? Well I did! I have enjoyed reading this one over and over again even though the holiday is now long gone. It might even be my new favorite so far. Lucy's too apparently. . .

It seems she's been doing a bit of moonlighting! If I'm not mistaken, I do believe she is perched there on the second shelf down in a hutch pictured on page 127.

Someone else is finally able to "perch." By Sunday night my basic doll and her little friend had been assembled and let me tell you it was a lot harder and took a lot longer than I ever would have imagined. Granted, putting the legs on backwards, having to CAREFULLY remove them , and then reattach them in the correct direction didn't help. The arms remain separate on purpose...apparently they are to be attached after the body has been painted and may require a pair of needle nose pliers to ease the sewing procedure!?! Wish me luck!

Monday, February 2, 2009

And the winner is...

I do believe Lucy and Lily Red are fast on their way to becoming the best of friends. Once the details of our February Giveaway had been shared the two sat down and got right to work...and a more perfect match I couldn't imagine. Lucy took to cutting out some lovely hearts while Lily Red wrote out the entrants names in the loveliest penmanship. Then, when it was finally time for the drawing, a most amazing thing happened. My children, yes those very same creatures that previously rolled their eyes at my doll play, wanted to participate! There was even a bit of a rumble among the three as to who should get to perform the actual selection process. In the end it was unanimously decided that I should organize two more giveaways in order that each should have their own turn! So stay tuned! For today however, I am happy to announce the lucky winner to be. . . . .

. . . . . Martha from Miss Van Droo! (Please e-mail me with your address and the Sweet Hearts will be on their way.) Her doll book recommendation was Hitty by Rachel Field which I am currently reading and thoroughly enjoying each and every page. So many of the books have been quite delightful but I have to say my favorite thus far has been. . . . .

. . . . . The Doll's House by Rumer Godden recommended by Suzanne at Blueberry Cottage. I love Tottie, the little farthing doll, as much as the Queen did! And the fact that Tasha Tudor illustrated the story was an added bonus. It's a story that warms the heart!

I extend a big "Thank You" to all participants and an even bigger one to Wayne, the repair man who fixed my furnace today. It's ever so nice to have a warm heart AND a warm body!

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Winter Blues and the Arrival of Lily Red

Oh woe is me...considering the events of the past weeks I have devoted this day to a bit of self pity. It began innocently enough with a car that wouldn't start due to the extreme cold. That in itself is to be expected at least once a year here during a New England winter. Ditto on the perpetual colds that take up permanent residence in our home every January. The sudden "death" of the digital camera, however, was completely out of the blue as was my broken tooth with crown work to follow...Yeah! And for a little added spice to my days it seems the checks I ordered form the bank have been lost in the mail!

A spot of tea and time spent knitting to sooth the soul you say? Not so I reply, for a sensor in our furnace broke and now the vile thing blows out a stream or cold air through the vents. Good news, however, one small part and it can be fixed...next week once the distributor sends it! So for the second time in two months our home is without heat. The teapot therefore, is to warm my hands and the knitting one of the few projects I am able to work on while huddled under a blanket. I have promised myself that should I ever win the lottery, the construction of a fireplace will be my first extravagance!

Apparently wooden dolls are quite tolerant of the climate for a wee one was spotted making its way through the bramble earlier today.

Imagine our surprise when that same wee wanderer was seen peering in the window at Wayside Cottage! Could it be...

Why yes it was! Our long awaited Lily Red had finally arrived. Introductions were made all around followed by a brief inspection of the cottage. Lily Red found it full of possibilities and being quite anxious to make it home Lucy presented her with the key. "I'm ever so happy your finally here," she said. "And your timing is perfect as something very exciting is happening tomorrow. Do take off your cape and I'll tell you all about it!"