Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Happy Halloween

No Will-o'-the-Wisp mislight thee;
Nor snake, or slow-worm bite thee:
But on, on thy way
Nor making a stay,
Since ghost there's none to affright thee.

~~ Robert Herrick ~~

Where has this month gone? It seems hardly possible that we are ready to start a new month. I feel like I only just put up my Halloween tree and tomorrow it is time to take it down again. I hope everyone enjoyed October and the colors it brings.

I wish you all a very Happy Halloween!

Monday, October 30, 2006

Monday's fall quote

I am rich today with autumn's gold,

All that my covetous hands can hold;
Frost-painted leaves and goldenrod,
A goldfinch on a milkweed pod,
Huge golden pumpkins in the field
With heaps of corn from a bounteous yield,
Golden apples heavy on the trees
Rivaling those of Hesperides,
Golden rays of balmy sunshine spread
Over all like butter on warm bread;
And the harvest moon will this night unfold
The streams running full of molten gold.
Oh, who could find a dearth of bliss
With autumn glory such as this!

~~ Gladys Harp ~~

Artwork from Rebecca Barker ~ 'Quiltscape: Autumn Leaves'

Friday, October 27, 2006

Finally some fall colors!

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

~~~ Albert Camus ~~~

We finally have some fall colors here now. It has been unseasonably warm here in Holland and I have had to wait so long to see some color. This is our little maple tree in the corner of the garden. My red maple is also starting to go orange now.

Pumpkin people

I finished the pumpkin people block last night. This block went so fast. I am really pleased with how it turned out. It will bring a smile to our face each October as I put the block on the quilt calendar.

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Autumn Leaves banner revealed

Today I am able to share another beautiful banner from our Autumn Leaves SAL group. This banner was made by Tanya Anderson. She is better known to stitchers as 'The Sampler Girl'. Tanya is our list mom for the cross stitching group and an amazing designer. If you have not already seen her site, you can check out her work at http://thesamplergirl.homestead.com/home.html . She just realeased a new chart: the Jane Austen Sampler Stocking and it is well worth a look!

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

This was my first pinkeep

I showed you my latest pinkeep a couple of days ago. It was only the second one I have ever made. I made one last Christmas as an exchange gift and loved how it turned out so had always planned to make one for myself also. The exchange gift was for someone in my quilt group and I wanted it to reflect the year's theme which was 'The Amish and their Quilts'. The front was Amish clothes and hats while the back had the theme title and date on it.

Since our Christmas exchange was a pincushion, I made a useable 'tuffet pincushion' out of some scraps of my Amish fabrics leftover from making my theme quilt. I wanted the person who received my gift to have a pincushion they could really use also as the pinkeep was just for decoration.

I want to make some pinkeeps as they are so nice when completed. I think my next one will be a Christmas pinkeep. It will be a fun project to plan to make over the holidays.

Sharing another Autumn Leaves sampler finish

I just love sharing all these finishes with you. This is Nancy in South Carolina's finished sampler. She framed this herself in a vintage frame she found at a yard sale. She is very lucky at finding great bargains like this. She placed it together with pumpkins and gourds in her fireplace. I think it all looks really wonderful especially since she choose the pumpkin for her center in the sampler.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

What's happening in my quilt studio

My own Autumn Leaves quilt has to wait for now. I have lots of work to finish before my quilt group comes next week. I gave them a challenge for the October block on the quilt calendar. They have to make their own design with only one rule. There has to be a jack o'lantern somewhere on it. I want to surprise them with something very different. I am creating these pumpkin people for my block. I will iron the applique on today and start with all the decorative stitching. Sorry this photo is a bit dark and fuzzy but I will share a better one with you once I get the stitching done.

I also have to work on my drawing for the November block. I will be using a cornucopia filled fill fall's bounty for this block. In between, I really need to add more to the newsletter for the group also. It is going to be a very busy week needless to say.

Autumn Leaves banner from SAL group

Here is another great finish from the Autumn Leaves SAL. This has been such fun to do together. This banner was sewn by Joni in Pennsylvania. She, like Diane, who's banner was shown last week, says she doesn't really sew but look at this great job! I think they are all looking so nice and hope to share more photos of the finishes with you soon.

Monday, October 23, 2006

Halloween pinkeep

I was beavering away this weekend on a cute little freebie which I finished today into a pinkeep. This is only the second one I have ever made and I would like to practice making more of them. I used a scrap of quilt fabric for the back. This was part of an October challenge in my stitching list's WIP SAL which I am pleased to have finished in time.

Monday's fall quote

O hushed October morning mild,
Thy leaves have ripened to the fall;
Tomorrow's wind, if it be wild,
Should waste them all.
The crows above the forest call;
Tomorrow they may form and go.
O hushed October morning mild,
Begin the hours of this day slow.
Make the day seem to us less brief.
Hearts not averse to being beguiled,
Beguile us in the way you know.
Release one leaf at break of day;
At noon release another leaf;
One from our trees, one far away.

~~~ Robert Frost ~~~

Painting: Two Women Seated by a Woodland Stream by Mary Cassatt

Friday, October 20, 2006

I was tagged

I was reading Annemarie's blog and saw she tagged me. She asked me to name seven songs I'm listening to at the moment, regardless of them being any good or not. I have been listening to a CD of dulcimer music by Matthew Abelson. The CD is called "From There To Here". The first seven songs are:

1. Haste to the Wedding/Merrily Kiss the Quaker
2. The Star of Munster
3. The Kid on the Mountain
4. Star of the County Down
5. Midnight Dreams
6. The Butterfly/Banish Misfortune/Morrison's Jig
7. Red Haired Boy

This type of music is a favorite of mine all year round but in the fall makes me think of my home state of Ohio.

Pumpkin medallion quilt

This quilt is hanging in my laundry room. It was another quilt I did as an exchange in my quilt group. Everyone was to bring a small square of fabric in a fall color. We then all exchanged our fabric square with each other so that everyone had many different fabrics to use for the leaves. All the quilts, started with the pumpkin center followed by borders in which you could applique the leaves. I encouraged them to change the pattern when they came to the leaves to create something of their own. The original pattern had only 12 leaves and they were set in rows evenly around the quilt.

For my own quilt, I hand appliqued the pumpkin and stuffed the applique work to add depth. I also added vines which I embroidered. I tried to scatter the leaves so that they appeared to have fallen on the quilt. I then drew tiny acorns of my own to add along with the leaves. I was really happy with how this quilt turned out and loved doing the hand quilting especially the cross hatching in the background fabrics.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Another Autumn Leaves banner

Isn't this beautiful?! This banner was sewn by a member of the cross stitching list I belong to who participated in the SAL. She had asked me for instructions for my pumpkin wallhanging and look what she made.

Diane, I think you did an amazing finish. The fabric, buttons and bows look perfect with the sampler. Great job!

Autumn Leaves quilt

I am finished sewing the Chinese coins and the first two black borders on the quilt. For the next border around this medallion quilt, I am considering using small 4-patch blocks. I have been playing with ideas and started with the fall colors mixed with light (beige) fabrics but also laid it out with the same fabrics I used in the Chinese coins and no lighter fabrics. I think I like this better. What do you think? At any rate, I will be busy cutting lots of little squares for now.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Miniature quilts

I love miniature quilts and started making them last year. I am making the series as shown in this photo to be displayed together. I have two more I want to make to go with these three. I started making them to go with dolls and my children's sewing machine. I will show you those in the future. This doll was made by my sister years ago. My mother brought it to me on one of her visits and it is very precious as my sister passed away.

I try to use all my hobbies as a part of my home decoration. You will rarely see a quilt or cross stitching being displayed exactly the same from year to year. I think it makes your things look new all over again. I am forever searching for small accessories to place with them also. It makes it so much fun to think up a new display.

I have never made a doll and won two kits from Gail Wilson on eBay. I hope to start one before the end of this year. I keep putting it off but the dolls are replicas of old dolls and are so beautiful.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Turning Autumn Leaves into a small quilt

I am making a small medallion quilt with my Autumn Leaves stitching as the center block. I will continue to show you my progress in the coming days. Yesterday I decided that it would be fun to try and use only my scrap box as much as possible. Later, I will have to go to my fabric stash for some longer pieces but now even my first long, small border of fabric comes from my scrap box.

I cut long strips of 1 inch wide to start with. This black fabric has brown, cream and green in it which pulls all the colors together and still gives a defining start to make sure the center jumps out on the quilt. Black fabrics do this very well and make fall colors look even better. This is a trick I use more often in my quilts.

The next border section of the medallion will be a series of Chinese coins in all colors contained in the stitched sampler. I am cutting these 1 x 2 inches.

More later.....

Monday, October 16, 2006

Autumn Leaves SAL completed

Last night I placed the finishing stitches in Autumn Leaves. This is a really beautiful design when it is stitched. This has been great fun to work on as a SAL. I hope all who participated are enjoying the autumn that much more having done this SAL. I know that I am savouring the joys of the season! I think working on a project that is from that season has slowed my pace and helped me to see even more around me.

I have an idea about turning this into a small quilt but have to go into my studio in the next few days to play with it and see how it will work out. I will keep posting photos this week of the progress as I go along. I hope you will come back and watch this project grow to a finish.

Monday's needlework quote

I have decided to use a beautiful needlework quote today as a tribute to all my online friends who read this blog. There is something very special about people who have a passion for needlework of any kind. They share special eyes that see the details of life. They share a deep feeling behind the colors and patterns that make life meaningful. They share a love for making a house a haven of beauty and rest for those around them. They share themselves as part of this colorful world. Thanks to all of you who come daily to read my blog and share with me on my lists. I am glad to call you friend!

'Methinks it is a token of healthy and gentle characteristics when women of high thoughts and accomplishments love to sew; especially as they are never more at home with their own hearts than while so occupied.'

~~~ Nathaniel Hawthorne ~~~

Friday, October 13, 2006

3rd week of Autumn Leaves SAL

I am finally able to show you my 3rd week's assignment for the SAL. I am a few days behind at the moment. I did start the 4th assignment today. It is a very easy part as we simply complete the verse and borders. I hope it will be completed soon and I can start to think about how I want to do the finishing on this sampler.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Fun mail!

I received a wonderful gift in the mail from an online friend! She sent me the 2006 Just Cross Stitch Ornament Issue. I have heard about this many times online but never actually had one myself. I love it! Thank you so much Nancy! Only one question...how do you ever choose which ornament to stitch first???

Rules for our log cabin swap quilt

I had a question about the swap quilt and thought I would explain how it all works. Everyone who wanted to participate in my quilt group turned in a small square of their choosen fabric for the hearth (middle square) and listed what colors they wanted used for their own log cabin blocks. Each month two names come up and they receive a log cabin block from each person participating in their choosen colors. You receive 11 completed blocks and can make however many more for yourself you need to complete you quilt.

The quilt I have now sewn is for myself but many of the blocks are given to me by the other members of my quilt group. We are simply swapping blocks.

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Log cabin swap quilt

Here is a photo of the log cabin swap quilt top ready to be sandwiched. I like the unordered scrappy and old fashioned look of this. The colors look cooler on this photo that in reality. I think it may come from taking a photo too late in the evening in my quilt studio that has cool lighting.

A busy quilty day

I am having a very busy day today working on my log cabin swap quilt. I have all the extra blocks sewn but one. I will work on it after I finish this post. I have already sewn the first four rows together and it is coming along very nicely. It will consist of 24 blocks total. Check back with me later on today and I will post a photo of the finished top.

The book pictured is a wonderful book about a family who deal with the loss of their mother while finding warmth in Granny's quilt scraps. I just love this book and often use books like this to display with my quilts.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Monday's fall quote

The fall quote for the last few Monday's has been a poem. I hope these poems will inspire you to stop and take time to appreciate nature's beauty in this fall season. Why not be inspired enough to start a stitching project about fall's bounty or sew a quilt full of autumn's amazing colors?

These poems and quotes are also to inspire you to see the magic in words. Words are very powerful and can paint a picture as beautiful as needlework or a quilt.

The morns are meeker than they were,
The nuts are getting brown;
The berry's cheek is plumper,
The rose is out of town.

The maple wears a gayer scarf,
The field a scarlet gown.
Lest I should be old-fashioned,
I'll put a trinket on.

~~~ Emily Dickenson ~~~

Photo: October by Carl Larsson

Sunday, October 08, 2006

Another Halloween quilt

This is another Halloween quilt I made two years ago. I wanted to make a log cabin that was in Halloween colors but could also be used during the fall if I wanted to. I see from this photo that I need to iron this after it has been hanging on my quilt rack for the past year.

I am the winter season

You Belong in Winter
Quiet, calm, and totally at peace...You're happy to be at home, wrapped in a blanket, completely snowed inWhether you're lighting a fire or having a snowball fight, you always feel best in the winter.
What Season Are You?

Saturday, October 07, 2006

Look where the fall tree went to!

Remember the photos of the fall tree I made? The tree is now full of my Halloween ornaments and this is what I did with the silk flowers, berries, leaves, apples, etc.. This arrangement is sitting on a sidetable which is beside our front door.

Friday, October 06, 2006

More Halloween decorations

Again some photos of the Halloween decorations I use. This small tree is now decorated for Halloween. The embroidered felt ornaments were made by my mother and I found the adorable little porceline jack o'lanterns to go with them at a garden center. I then sprinkle tiny orange silk leaves throughout the tree. The witch tree top was a gift from my mother from her visit to Salem, Mass.. I will show you what was done with all the fall flowers, berries, leaves and apples that had been in the fall tree tomorrow as they have become part of a new arrangement.

The fabric pumpkins are so simple to make! They are a craft idea from the Debbie Mumm website. You can find them at http://www.debbiemumm.com/potm/06/october/crafts/octoberpotmcrafts.asp#plumpkins
They are also a great idea to do together with kids. First you need a walk outside to find some pieces of branch to use for the stems and then create these fun, fat, squishy little pumpkins.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Halloween quilts

I thought I would share some photos of some of my Halloween decorations over the next few days. Although I have made many quilts in fall colors, I have only made two Halloween quilts for myself. Firstly, a quilt from a Thimbleberries book with adorable little jack o'lanterns. I have this quilt laying on the coffee table.

The second quilt came about by accident. I had made the Matilda the Witch quilt I showed you a few days ago. When I cut out the applique cat it was pointing the wrong direction. The pattern did not indicate it was not reversed as needed for applique. I decided to recut the cat but thought it was a shame to throw out the one that was wrong. Instead, I cut out two more in the same direction and made this quilt using my three cats. I was really pleased with how it turned out and its simplicity. These types of quilts are great to show off your quilt stitches.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006


I love trees! The return of Autumn each year is a special time. There is nothing more beautiful than seeing a tree put on a coat of color to celebrate the cycles of nature. Next will come the revelation of its bare structure to show strength against the coming winter winds and snow. The seasons are to be celebrated!

Live thy Life,
Young and old,
Like yon oak,
Bright in spring,
Living gold;

Then; and then
Gold again.

All his leaves
Fall'n at length,
Look, he stands,
Trunk and bough
Naked strength.
~~~Alfred, Lord Tennyson ~~~

Painting: "The Talking Oak"
by William Maw Egley

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Remember these?

I posted these two photos back on Sept. 1st as a stitching WIP and quilt UFO I set as a goal to complete. The other two items mentioned are completed but these, although farther along, are not finished. So for this month's goal, I want to complete these items. I am not sure I can have the quilt binding on but at least get the hand quilting done. I have some SAL items that also have to be completed in October. If you check back regularly, there should be photos coming as soon as they are finished.

Getting ready for Halloween

Halloween is just around the corner now and I am going to switch my fall tree to Halloween now. I am going to spend this afternoon getting ready for my quilt group meeting here tomorrow evening and want the house decorated for Halloween. For me, this means the Halloween ornaments my mother made me on my tree and hanging my Halloween quilts.

I promised a friend (Hi Nancy!) a photo of a quilt I made back in 2002 as a gift for my mother. I call her 'Matilda the Witch' and she is hanging on a small witch's broom.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Monday's fall quote

Photo: Chinese lantern plant taken in our cottage garden.


Thou comest, Autumn, heralded by the rain,

With banners, by great gales incessant fanned,
Brighter than brightest silks of Samarcand,
And stately oxen harnessed to thy wain!

Thou standest, like imperial Charlemagne,
Upon thy bridge of gold; thy royal hand
Outstretched with benedictions o'er the land,
Blessing the farms through all thy vast domain!

Thy shield is the red harvest moon, suspended
So long beneath the heaven's o'er-hanging eaves;
Thy steps are by the farmer's prayers attended;
Like flames upon an altar shine the sheaves;
And, following thee, in thy ovation splendid,
Thine almoner, the wind, scatters the golden leaves!

Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

Sunday, October 01, 2006

2nd assignment PS Autumn Leaves SAL

Here is a photo of the 2nd assignment for the PS Autumn Leaves SAL. This design just gets cuter and cuter as you stitch along.....