Monday, September 21, 2009

Summer Ends...

School began for the youngsters in our neck of the woods the first week of September but it won't be until the clock strikes twelve this evening that I will finally concede to the fact that summer is over. With autumn only hours away I suppose I should prepare for it by removing our Summer Fun List from its prominent position on the refrigerator door. As usual, we seem to have accomplished barely half of our good intentions. While there might have been a bit of belly aching over the fact that we never did get to go to Martha's Vineyard this year (#20), I never once heard a complaint over the lack of time spent cleaning out the basement (#31)!

The morning glories have proven to be the saving grace of #37's desire to enjoy the garden. What with all the rain bestowed upon us things were a bit meager, except of course for the slugs. The few tomatoes and peas were long ago eaten, the basil went moldy, and the fairy roses bloomed but once the whole season. The morning glories, however, began to greet me every morning in July and continue to due so to this day.

Our annual strawberry and blueberry picking adventures were also hindered by the wet weather. Week after week we waited for the perfect day to head out, but unfortunately most of the fruit rotted in place. While disappointed, to say the least, I was not about to let the holidays come round without a batch of freezer jam tucked away for our traditional thumbprint cookies.

And so, yes, my strawberries this year were picked not from the vine put from the grocery shelf.
It's bad enough I don't know how to make up "proper" jam in tiny little jars that can be decorated with calico and ribbons, but to know the berries themselves had such a dismal origin definitely adds insult to injury. It's somewhat romantic to think of the wee ones biting into their Christmas jam cookies and being magically carried back to a warm summer day out in the strawberry fields with their family. Unfortunately I think that only happens in fairy tales for I was informed, by quite reliable sources I might add, that they don't give a hoot where the jam, or the cookies for that matter, come from as long as they get their fair share!
The family puzzle (#17) was eventually completely, although mostly by my hand alone. Note to self, "I Spy puzzles featuring storybook characters are not a hit with teenagers. Must find one of the periodic table or perhaps a floor plan of the mall. "

A bonus activity during the month of August was the "Block Party Swap" I participated in. If you haven't been over to visit Elizabeth at Creative Breathing be sure to pop in someday soon. There is always something wonderful in the works over there to be oohed and aahed at. The swap was in celebration of her 301st post and involved decorating a 5x5 inch card stock block in your creative style. In return one would be created especially for you by Elizabeth. I just love the little girl in the bonnet she selected for me. The red gingham bow tie is just perfect!

It seems as if old book stores are becoming fewer and farther between. . . . .and so while we didn't actually get around to visiting one (#3), we did manage to stumble upon an antiquarian book show. Surprisingly hubby came out empty handed but have no fear I gladly made up the difference!

The Butt'ry Shelf Almanac was a very welcome surprise. . . . . I've had the companion cookbook to it for years and years and always wondered what delights awaited me within the pages of its mate. I suppose I could have ordered it off Amazon long ago but it's so much more fun to stumble across one that's waiting for you to find it!

This, however, was the true treasure of the day. . . . . The Mary Francis Sewing Book! I can't wait to follow along on her "adventures among the thimble people." Intended for young girls, each chapter introduces a new sewing skill along with a project that utilizes that skill. By the time the book is completed an entire wardrobe for one's special doll has been created, everything from an apron and a nightgown to a fancy dress and coat. I'm trying not to peek to much into it but it does seem as if all work is done by hand AND that all the pattern pieces are intact! Of course now I'll have to be on the lookout for my own special doll in the appropriate size to make all these pieces for.

In the meantime, however, there is no shortage of fun to be had with Lily Red around. Her tea party (#42) was a huge success. Lucy arrived with a basket full of confetti which was a great way to get the party started. Lucky for me I had that adequate supply of freezer jam, as Lily Red asked specifically for me to bring some as a side to her scones. Miss Prim Rose came, parasol in hand, and ready to share her sunny disposition with everyone! And not only was Lily Red the most gracious hostess, she also had a little something special for all her guests. . . . .

. . . . . the recipe to her special Cranberry Chocolate Scones! The ingredients are quite common,

and the directions none to difficult. I can't think Of anything better to make now that the cool autumn days are on their way.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Lily Red Riding Hood

Humor me if you will in the presentation of yet another Lily. Being a special order, Red Riding Hood is actually in route to her new home, and more so than usual I am finding myself missing her presence in the sewing nook. As of yet I haven't created a single Lily to call my own but am thinking this one may have inspired me to do so. Perhaps it's the combination of the red gingham, the embroidered cape, and the mohair braids. Whatever the case may be, bear with me while I post a few photos to reference back to.

I have to say my favorite part was making the embroidered cape. I had so much fun stitching those little vines and leaves and found it was much easier than anticipated. The mind is now making a metal list of any and all things I could put needle and floss to in such a manner. . . . . . currently a new valance for the kitchen window holds fast to first place while my offer to adorn the new school clothes was firmly refused!
I made the cape removable primarily because its fun to play dress up, but it also allows you to see her lovely auburn braids. I was able to buy the dyed mohair from Gail Wilson Designs to make a wig similar to the ones I attempted in her basic doll kit. My braiding skills still leave quite a bit to be desired but in this case I actually prefer to have them more "relaxed" in order to be in better proportion to her head. Now if I could only get my hands on some curly blond hair to work with I'm sure Goldilocks would come round for a visit!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Two Lilies and a Field Trip

In amongst the bouquet of lilies to come out of my sewing nook this summer were these two kindred spirits, Lily Cathy and Lily Joanie. With bonnets in place and a current project ready for show and tell they were quite excited to be part of a special adventure.

As quickly as possible the last minute details of ditty bags and tags were attended to.

Soon enough they were gently tucked into a handy basket and headed out the door. There was not to be any peeking but I did catch one little head peering about on occasion.

A hop, skip, and a jump down the road and we arrived at our destination. I don't know about you, but any time I find myself passing through a white picket fence and following along a garden path I am filled with certainty that something delightful is in store . . . . .

. . . . .as is the case every time I call on Candlelite Quilts. I absolutely love the sight of this little shop. It always seems so happy to have it's "OPEN" sign hanging out front. And it's no wonder, for the place is perpetually inhabited by the most delightful folk and filled with creative treasure galore.
As you step through the door a myriad of rooms await exploration.

Even if you were to visit the shop on a weekly basis I do believe something new will have arrived each and every time. On this particular day I discovered the first signs of Christmas on display.

I vaguely recalled a promise to myself to begin those holiday projects early on this year. Try as I might to convince myself to pick up a bit of this and that to get started, my feet kept walking. Unfortunately, it will be those same two feet that I'll be kicking myself with come December 21st when I'm frantic for lack of enough time.

The Kaffe Fassett corner is always a favorite for me now after my adventure in creating with his fabrics last spring. At least one of his fat quarters seems to make it into my pile each time I visit with the idea that someday I will make a "real" quilt like the ones I'm always drooling over in his books.

Speaking of drooling. . . . . .I LOVE this pineapple quilt! If it were on my bed I just know I would have the best dreams ever and wake up feeling inspired for whatever the day ahead held. A class in it's construction is scheduled for this month but unfortunately I won't be available to attend. . . . . so for now it will have to wait on my "someday" list along with my Fassett plans.

Around the corner and up the stairs is a whole other world of wool penny mats, red work, and rug punching.

This happens to be the room I find most intriguing. I am fascinated by rug punching and perpetually working hard to find a way to justify squeezing another craft and all it's accouterments back at home. If only we didn't have to eat I could take over the kitchen counters to create a storage system like this!

It does help when you have a partner in crime by your side. My mom once had an interest in making a set of chair pads so perhaps if I team up with her it could happen sooner than expected. I swear she doesn't have an ounce of procrastination in her, so once her mind is set on a task, mountains will be moved to achieve her goal! My plan is to simply follow in her wake.

And just in case dear hubby is at a loss for some birthday ideas this pattern along with a few skeins of wool yarn would get him off the hook for another year!

Having found themselves quite at home the Lilies decided to set down roots. Have no fear, however, for leaving Candlelite with an empty basket would never be in my plans!