Tuesday, 30 September 2008

It's All Good

I left this bounty ripening in the yard we moved from...

to find these ripening in our new to us backyard.
I also traded seeing these blooms out my window...
to these, but it's all good, I think. Big changes, but new adventures.
Our latest adventure of discovery brought us these views...
and these beautifully dressed trees.
We didn't hike this mountain, this time, but we admired it after returning from hiking another (not quite so high!).
The time we spent hiking as a family in a new area has made us realize that no matter where you go, there's beauty to be enjoyed.
I am thankful for time in Nature because no matter what may be happening in my life at the time, once I place myself in Nature; I'm in the moment, living fully and it's all good.

Thursday, 25 September 2008

Fall flowers

Every year without fail I almost miss these flowers. It seems that one minute they aren't there and then, by the time I notice them, they are in full (or past full) bloom. I have them in two spots in the front gardens and they just seem so delightfully out of place to me. I always think of crocus as a spring bloom. I actually almost wrecked these this year because a few weeks ago I transplanted my echinacea right almost on top of these bulbs. My echinacea hasn't done well where I put it (obviously it doesn't know the song Bloom Where You're Planted), it was too crowded, I think. I finally gave up on expecting it to conform to my wishes and dug it up, divided it and transplanted it to my front flower beds.

Yesterday on my wander around the gardens I decided to stop and take a picture of these as they don't last long...and I wanted them to feel admired since they are usually overlooked. ;-)

And you see, the bees are admiring them too.

Monday, 22 September 2008

Autumnal Equinox treats (or how to choose a husband)

My friends all tell me that I've got it pretty good with my husband. I know it. I chose carefully. ;-) One of the first things to tip me off that he was a keeper was that he baked for me. Chocolate chips cookies. What more did I need to know?

He is also an excellent pie man. Last night he made us a delicious dinner with pumpkin pie (his speciality) for dessert as part of our equinox celebration. We enjoyed our fire while sitting on a beautiful walnut bench he built out of a friend's walnut tree - saved it from being cut into firewood - and recycled concrete planters. Is that my kind of guy or what? Happy equinox.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

I never promised you a rose garden

I love this song.

I'm sure my taste in music must come from many happy family trips when I was little, we would listen to eight tracks playing this kind of music as we drove. Anyway, whenever I am out in my rose garden this song comes to mind so I thought I would share it with you along with some pictures of the roses that are in bloom right now.

This rose I love for the slight blush of pink on the edges of the petals.

Tuesday, 16 September 2008


Say hello to quilt number three.  The colours and patterns of the fabric I've chosen remind me of the colours (and the shirts) in Hawaii, and as Autumn starts closing in around us, I think it will be a bright spot in the grey days to come.

Here is a close up which shows the patterns and the colours a little better.

I was inspired by a quilt I saw in Bend-the-rules Sewing, but I tweaked it a bit by changing the width of the stripes and making the finished quilt a rectangle instead of a square.   I really liked working with the stripes, so I will definitely use this pattern again.

I do love the quilts that have small triangles and rectangles making up their pattern, but I can't bear to chop up my fabric that small.  I figure the more I quilt, the more little scraps I will get, and will one day be able to make a scrappy quilt.  For now, I am enjoying the quickness and ease of whipping up a simple quilt top.  Plus, it helps me perfect my less then straight sewing...

Now my search for the quilt backing begins.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Vintage floral sheets

Well, I promised Katherine (and extracted a promise from her) that we would keep each other informed of our thrifting finds even after she moved. Now that she is living in a city a ways away it isn't as easy to ooh and aah over each other's finds. I mentioned in an email to her that I had "scored" at our favourite thrift store and was prodded to show my find.
I couldn't resist these. I often do pass up vintage sheets but after seeing all the cool things that Katherine makes with them, and thoroughly enjoying a pair of the pj pants that she makes with them, I just couldn't leave this set in the store. They might end up as pj pants, shopping bags or even a quilt. My friend, J, mentioned that I could just sew the two sheets together with batting in between, machine quilt it and...voila! A bright, pretty, easy quilt. Sounds good to me. (the problem is that I have such a hard time cutting into them so I hem and haw about how to use them).

Finding Your Inner Mama

I've just finished reading this book and I really liked it. It is a collection of essays written by women - real women, real mothers - on mothering in all its glory...the ups, the downs, the intense learning of the challenges and the infinite joy of the rewards.
This book made me laugh, it made me cry, it made me nod my head in agreement and it made me shake my head at the pressure we put on ourselves. Some of the essays really resonated with me and have given me much to think about. I thoroughly enjoyed it and recommend it to all mothers.

Sunday, 14 September 2008

Bean recipes? Anyone?

It is possible that I have managed to get a little bit carried away in my desire to stock up on food and reduce trips to the grocery store. Still not sure just where I will be storing all these.
I was just thinking that I better find some cookbooks with a whole lot of bean recipes in them when I opened the Jamie at Home cookbook (that finally came from the library) last night and I found his Humble Bean recipe. Yay! Still, I think I need some more recipes...and some more gallon jars.

Thursday, 11 September 2008

Treasures from the remnants bin

Ahh, the remnants bin. A hidden collection of scrappy quilt treasures, awaiting discovery. It has become the first place I rush to in my fabric store visits, and I've never failed to score a treasure or two (well, it has to be two actually, because it's buy one get one free. I can never leave with only one...)

Let me share my latest collection of flannel remnants:

I'm sensing a lovely, soft flannel quilt in my future. There are a variety of lengths, with the most being 0.9 of a metre, which is a good chunk of fabric, especially since I'm only paying between $1.50 and $3.00 (and less if you consider that I get one free - who can resist free?)

And here is my smaller collection of cottons:

I collect all the ones I am drawn to and figure what they are meant to be will come to me. In the meantime, they make for some colourful art around my sewing room.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Gold Rush Trail

We spent last week camping. This year we decided to head up the Gold Rush Trail to Barkerville. I hadn't been there since I was a child (all I remember of it is the candy store - salt water taffy and rock candy!!) and the rest of my family had never been there. We took our time getting there and enjoyed some stops along the way - camping, hiking, kayaking and, of course, thrifting.
Where else but the Cariboo could you expect to find a "log cabin" thrift store?

Barkerville was lots of fun and we spent the better part of two days there. We panned for gold, we got yelled at by "the judge" (which is better than at Fort Steele where my husband managed to get himself thrown in jail by "the sheriff"), we walked up to Richfield court house, we bought candy at the general store (and at the candy store), we ate yummy Chinese food, and...Eureka! we struck it rich.
We found the "mother lode"...of blueberries and huckleberries, that is. All the way on the walk to Richfield we stuffed ourselves with berries. I grew up on the coast where we had red huckleberries growing in our yard. I love them but I think I like black ones even more, even the smell is delicious.
Here is the requisite Barkerville picture. I wonder how many times this church has been photographed.
I love visiting any place that makes you feel as though you have stepped back in time. I so enjoy seeing all the old bits and pieces of daily life in another time, it sometimes makes me wish that I lived in those days. And when we got home and I started to deal with over a week's worth of dirty camping laundry I thought to myself - maybe some things of this time are not so bad.

Monday, 8 September 2008

Who doesn't love to look at canning?

Because I think canning is beautiful! If I could, I would build sculptures out of it and marvel at it's beauty every day! Alas, it has to be stored in a cool, dark place and my sculptures would be unseen - but I can still make little towers here and there.

Here is my last batch of salsa for this year. I'm hoping it's enough to make it through a full year - I shall have to monitor salsa intake to make sure no one has gone over their daily limits.

I would have liked to make more but it was not meant to be. I learned a lesson this year - do not wait until September to buy your canning lids. Lots of little sizes were available, but none for my big quart jars. Luckily, I had some left from last year and I borrowed some from new jars I bought this year because all I had was big quart jars and I need something smaller...

for jam! It's my first year doing jam and it is very, very exciting to me!
Here is my strawberry jam. It is so very delicious - strawberries picked from my garden and sweetened with honey. I've realized I've become a bit of a jam snob. Heather spoiled me with her tasty homemade jam and now I find store bought doesn't cut it. There was one passable jam that was fruit juice sweetened, but I'm finding other jams in this world are too sugary sweet for me. It was no surprise why when I read some canning recipes and saw how much sugar went into them! That was one reason why I hadn't yet tackled jam, but thanks to Heather, I found a low sugar recipe that doesn't overwhelm the flavour of the fruit. I also did blackberry jam with the blackberries from our bushes but no photo exists. You will have to trust me.
I also wanted to do peach jam, but we are so enjoying the box of peaches from our tree that taking a big chunk of them to mash up seemed so wrong. Then we stumbled across a huge stack of 29 cent/lb juice peaches at a local packing house and I ended up buying as much as I could carry out. Seemed sad to leave them to spoil, just because they weren't "perfect" enough to sell. Most got chopped up for smoothies but one box became jam.

Isn't it pretty? Am I the only one who thinks canning is beautiful?
By mid afternoon, I was finished canning and the only thing left to do was let it cool. L and I went outside to play some games, but mostly I spent my free time laying on a blanket, staring at this:

How lucky I felt to be laying in the grass, enjoying the warm weather that I will miss so much in a month or so. If I could have, I would have had a little siesta, then and there. But that wasn't in my sons plans. He was collecting tomatoes...

There are my beauties. I've know these tomatoes since their plants were tiny seeds in my hand. I should know what kinds they are, but I don't. It's a sad story. I started out so organized, seeds planted in their tiny starter cells with a little map drawn up, labelling what seed was in what cell. We watered them, we talked to them, we sent them happy growing vibes. Then, one sad day, I was carrying the tray back to the window sill and it buckled and fell to the ground. I sunk to my knees and quietly sobbed, not because of the dirt spread out all over my kitchen floor, but for all the tiny newly sprouted seeds revealed in the dirt spread out all over my kitchen floor. Then my hero, my husband, rushed into the room wearing a white shirt and tan coloured breeches, and put the little seedlings back into cells. Happily, they became small plants which turned into huge tomato bearing plants, but my map of who's who was completely thrown off. But it all turned out okay. And these lovelies became crushed tomatoes for winter soups and sauces.
I'm not done with dealing with food yet. Oh no. Not by a long shot. Canning, yes. Done. 100% done for the year. But Amanda came by with a little delivery for me...

Beans anyone? Sitting there we have 200 lbs of beans (which I'm splitting with Heather because I don't think even I could eat that many beans!), 50 lbs of whole wheat flour and (in my freezer) 25 lbs of rice. The goal of not having to do any grocery shopping is quickly being achieved.