Friday, October 31, 2008

Happy Halloween tales...

My mother (you can read about Fawn on her blog here) asked me to post a funny story about my sister's and her favorite holiday...Halloween. Now before you all think I had a rotten sister (well she was very ornery at times), I wanted to show you a "normal" photo of her. This is taken many moons ago as you can see by the camera she is holding. Vintage perhaps? *grins* The two of us took a road trip from Maryland to Ohio when I came home to visit. I wanted to see all my relatives and talked her into taking me up. We had a blast together and took some time out to visit Amish country. I told her I wanted to take a photo of her so she pulled out her camera too and this is the result. Fawn is taking a photo of me taking a photo of her.

And now a spooky Halloween story...My sister loved to go all out for Halloween. I was visiting that year and we dressed her up as a witch. She found a mask that made her look old and sat out on her front porch on a rocking chair with her candy in a large pot she used for making jam. She put on spooky sound effects and was ready to go. She told me to sit there in regular clothes so the little children would not be so afraid to come up and grab candy. This was a selective thought which I will explain further in a moment. She told me to ask kids if they liked my mannequin and the kids would go right up and look. Some older kids would say "Hey cool! She looks so real!" and then it would happen. She would start to rock and laugh her wicked witch laugh to scare them.

At one point, her youngest daughter Mandie's little friend came up to the porch and told me "Trick or treat" and just looked at Fawn. She knew Mandie's Aunt Heidi was visiting so did not think about me sitting on the porch step. Then Fawn let out a terrible laugh on purpose to scare this little girl. The girl threw her pumpkin in the air with all the candy spilling out all over the yard and ran. My sister sat there unable to compose herself from laughing. I told her she was really wicked to do that and she said she did not like that little girl being Mandie's friend. I wonder how long that friendship lasted?

Our family has many memories that arise as Halloween comes about my sister. We will always miss her and somehow feel she might be trick or treating today...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Autumn break.....

You know the old saying that what you see often, you become blind to? Well, I noticed that I was no longer seeing my autumn arrangements outside any longer. I decided to rework them a little to make them different and seem new again. I brought our two blocks of wood up to the front door to replace the wooden chair and placed a mum, some branches and large pumpkin there.

The mum is just about at its end but should last another couple of weeks. I like that the front door now has a different look. Funny how the smallest changes can make such a difference. I also changed the table to now have a large tray full of various autumn items.

I am taking an autumn break and we are going up to Cranberry Cottage for this coming week. Our lives have been very hectic this fall as Jos has quit his job and Friday was his final day. He has this week off to rest before starting a new job the first week of November. We expect it to be a very involved job with longer hours so are looking forward to this week together. I will be back at the end of the week but still hope to be able to visit a couple of you while away using my laptop.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Our fan club?

Enlarge this photo and take a look at our fan club...

I looked outside and saw that all the ducks decided to take a nap right outside our window. I think they were waiting. Waiting for what? Well, fresh farmer's brown bread of course. *grins* Jos laughs at me for giving them our fresh bread but since we don't have old bread...well, they do have to eat don't they?

“Be like a duck. Calm on the surface, but always paddling like the dickens underneath.”

~ Michael Caine

Sunday, October 19, 2008

A Sunday stroll

We thought it would be nice to just take a stroll in the woods right by Cranberry Cottage before driving back to the city. What a perfect fall day it was. I little bit grey and cool which made a great time to go walk and look for more toadstools.
A fallen tree branch from a previous storm becomes a work of art at this time of year.

The tame chestnuts lay scattered about the forest's floor. This one came home with me as a souviner.

I love the sound of walking on the fallen leaves. It makes me feel like a child again.

"The gilding of the Indian summer mellowed the pastures far and wide.
The russet woods stood ripe to be stripped, but were yet full of leaf.
The purple of heath-bloom, faded but not withered, tinged the hills...
Fieldhead gardens bore the seal of gentle decay; ... its time of
flowers and even of fruit was over."
~ Charlotte Brontë

What are some of your favorite sights of autumn?

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Old is new again.....

Remember back in September that I showed you this little chest of drawers that desperately needed a makeover?

Well, welcome to my reading corner which is in my bedroom. My old chest of drawers is new again.

Jos sanded down the cupboard for me and I bought color of paint called 'samenspel' which is perhaps best translated as 'harmony'. I almost dry brushed it on to achieve a very old vintage look.

While at this shop, I found these really pretty vintage Delft blue knobs and bought them for these drawers since I decided to use the previous set I had bought for a cupboard up at the cottage.

We are so pleased with how it turned out that we cannot wait to start on the pine nightstands in the bedroom now. We wanted to lighten up this furniture but not go with white. I was nervous that this would all turn out as I had planned in my head but have been really happy with the results. It was well worth all that sanding as it looks like a whole new piece of furniture and is new once again.

It is raining again here today so perhaps the best place to be in sitting in my reading corner enjoying a good book.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ghosts, goblins and witches hanging around

It is that time of year again. I am still only just now putting out my Halloween decorations so am rather late this year. My Halloween tree is standing on a small table by our front door. It is nice to see the lights on the branches from outside the front door or through the glass door in our living room. All the ornaments were made by my mother except the little porcelain jack o' lanterns. The tree top is a witch my mother bought for me in Salem when she went there on vacation.

My scarecrow is sitting very chipper on the edge of the wicker vase for the tree. He is keeping an eye on things for us.

The stack of pumpkins and black cat is a little something I bought back in Ohio and the magnet was a gift from my sister. She used to send a little something at this time of year. As some of you already know, Halloween was my sister's favorite holiday and I now do this tree each year in her memory. I always feel like she is looking over my shoulder as I hang the ornaments. She would, of course, be dressed up to try and scare me too. *grins*

What is it about little fairy lights that give such a special glow. I am glad our days are growing shorter and we can light up our evenings this way.

Do you decorate for Halloween?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Autumn sunshine...

Our weekend was spent in autumn sunshine. We decided to drive to Assen to visit the outdoor market and see what vegeatables looked good. We came home with corn on the cob so a little bit of summer sunshine. Then we decided to take a walk in the Govenour's Park across from the parking garage. We talked about doing this for a couple of years and never did. For some reason, we thought this was going to be a large park but it turned out to be very small and this was pretty much the nice corner there.

Still, it was pretty to see the sun shining through the trees which were still very green. Some areas have brillant autumn color and others are still very green in the countryside.

Cranberry Cottage is decked out in its autumn slendor and I keep discovering more and more toadstools in the garden. There are more this year than last.

Our table has a little quilt with an autumn display. I just loved this pumpkin's stem!

Just before we left on Friday, I baked a Norwegian apple cake. Now having this to enjoy is a bit of autumn sunshine in itself. Don't you just love the over abundance of apples at this time of year?

I hope you had a good weekend too. Did you get outdoors and enjoy autumn?

"Every leaf speaks bliss to me, fluttering from the autumn tree."

~ Emily Bronte

Thursday, October 09, 2008

It's raining cats and dogs

This is how we start our day together ~ Dagi and I. I love to begin the day with a very long hot bath and a good book. I think it is so relaxing to read in the bathtub! Do you ever do that yourself? Dagi loves this time too. He sits in the bathroom meowing rather impatiently for me to lay my pajamas on the toilet seat so he can keep an eye on things and have a nap. I think he does more of the later than the former. *grins*

So speaking of books...this is one of my two new vintage books I just received this week. As you may recall, I love vintage books with red covers. I bought this from an English eBay bookseller.

"Thy Servant A Dog" is written by Rudyard Kipling. It is written as if his family dog Boots is telling the story.

I am looking forward to reading this story but am also thrilled with beautiful black and white illustrations in the book.

There are a couple of nice drawings of hunt scenes. I guess this was the right choice to go with my English hunt prints hanging in my living room?

The second book is something very special. I will share that one with you in another post.

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Magical creatures and fairy lights?

I was surprised that a couple of you noticed the swan up on top of my hutch in my last entry, his head just barely sticking out in the photo. I thought I would share an old photo I took back a number of years ago just after the holidays. I had him sitting out on a quilt that I made on our dining room table. I was not quite ready to totally get rid of all my holiday decorations and thought this made a nice winter look. I want to think of a new way to use him again this year.

I would love to see your swans for those of you who mentioned you also had one...

We took our old chandelier up to Cranberry Cottage. This used to hang in our bedroom. I really like having it at the cottage now. It works well with the beams and high ceiling.

Our garden at the cottage is enjoying some unexpected visitors. We have little gnome neighborhoods popping up everywhere this year. Jos went out to mow the grass while I was sitting inside enjoying my "Miss Potter" DVD while stitching. He came in and told me he had to mow around a number of gnome neighborhoods. I think I must have him toadstool trained. *grins*

These Turkey Tails come back each year to grow happily on the tree branches we use to line the planting areas. In Dutch, they are called "Elfenbankjes" which you could literally translate as "elves couches". Can't you just see little elves visiting their gnome friends and sitting here drinking from acorn cups?

Being right on the woods, the grass is very poor here with a great deal of moss in it. I have never wanted to change it as I have snowdrops and daffodils planted throughout the grass as well as the toadstools that seem to increase each autumn. This kind of beauty goes above perfection any day for me.

So who says gnomes don't exist??? Do you believe in gnomes and have you really looked at a toadstool to try and find the door?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Cheerful autumn.....

Autumn is a very cheerful to me. I love watching all the leaves changing colors, walking in the woods when there is a nip in air, or simply seeing a leaf dance in the wind as it falls to the ground.

Normally I don't show much of my handwork on this blog as I have kept that seperate for my needlework blog but my handwork is very much a part of my autumn decorations. Photo above shows my dining room table with a basket of toadstools and my acorn salt and pepper shakers on my new quilted tablerunner. Join me as I show a few things in my home?

Click on the photos to enlarge.

One of my hobbies is making bobbin lace. I love toadstools, as you know, so I made these lace toadstools. This year they are sitting on a little table just in the entrance along with my fabric acorn pincushions. I am going to make some more fabric acorns next week to use in a basket with pinecones.

I bought this wooden pumpkin a number of years ago while visiting my mother in Ohio and still love it.

The hutch has fall leaves draped over the top along with just a few simple accessories.

My butler tray is constantly changing. Now it holds a an autumn display. This is my favorite lamp. I love the way the shade looks in the evenings. It gives a beautiful warm glow.

An autumn quilt now hangs on the quilt wall of the living room.

My autumn tree! I love this and the photo does not do it justice. Why I don't know but I cannot seem to really capture this tree well in a picture. It is full of autumn colored flowers, berries, nut garland and acorn garland.

Evenings are wonderful with the tiny fairy lights warming the look of the tree even more.

I turned a stitched piece I made into a quilter tabletopper to use with my toadstools plate on my coffee table.

Tasha Tudor can be found among my fall items with her book "Pumpkin Moonshine". The pincushion was an online exchange gift made for me by Roberta. I love it and use it as part of my decorations.

My 'plumpkins'. You can read abou them and how to get the pattern here.

A cinnamon candle in a dish with little pumpkins rests on top of our woodstove when there is not a fire going.

Yesterday, my house smelled delicious with the chestnuts roasting in the oven. I tried following the instructions from the BBC food website but they were overcooked and we had to throw them away. At least the house smelled good. Does anyone out there have tips for roasting chestnuts?

Have a color~filled weekend! Be sure to get outdoors and enjoy autumn!