Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Today I did the dyeing of the lace piece. I used 5 different colors, violet, saffron, turquoise, lime and cream. They were all watered down quite a bit but it is still a little brighter then I thought it would be when dried. I haven't posted them to the forum yet and haven't seen anyone else's piece once dyed. It will be interesting. I am not sure I should have used the doily in the middle as a focal point but it is just practice for the ideas. If I decide it is too bright I might go wet it down and go over with a golden ash or lighter. At least I am caught up and the next lesson comes out Friday. I am anxious to see what we do next.

We are having some beautiful weather here in Illinois at last. The last big rain was last thurs. with another smaller one on Sunday. Saturday turned out nice and it was the family birthday/Father's Day celebration at Sue's house. The weather was great and we were outside the whole time. The mosquito's finally drove us home abot nine. Good time was had by all. She had one of those big Costco birthday cakes with the cream cheese filling and it was delicious. She had a hockey theme in honor of the Blackhawks and I bought Sean one of the new shirts and both Granpas present each received a hockey shirt. I can't believe those cakes only cost 16.99. That is a bargain. She sent me home with 2 large pieces that we ate over 2 nights with a bit of ice cream. She had 20 some odd people all together so you know how big this cake was.

Well better get to cleaning the kitchen as I have dye stuff all over and it will be time soon for his honor to come dowstairs for his 5.30 cocktail before dinner at 6.30. Waving to Barb here as she knows the ritual. Hugs to you both.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010


I was reading the Joggles newsletter on sunday morning and brought up the classes they are holding. I travelled down and stopped at one called Scrumptious Scraps by Christen Brown. It looked like my kind of thing but with a twist. The class had already started but I emailed Barbara and she said yes I could still start just would need to catch up. I signed up and here I go. I thought maybe this would intrigue me and get me started again after this crafting funk I have been in. What intrigued me is how we put the base fabric together. You take a piece of muslin, then put a piece of silk dupioni or other silk fabric and lay it on top of the muslin. On top of the dupioni you lay all your lace scraps. This is very different then how we proceed in crazy quilting. There is more to it but I cannot put the lesson on my blog. Just give you an idea in case you want to take the course some time.

Lesson 2 is dyeing. Ribbons, threads, lace motifs and the lace piece itself. I am not sure what color mine is going to be yet. I have so much silk ribbon and threads that I will just dye the lace piece and then use what I have. I may dye one or two just to say I did. Lesson 3 starts this Friday so I should be well done by then.

I will keep you posted as I go.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


I just finished a very interesting book by Ann Hood called the Red Thread. It is fiction and the story is about a gal that starts an adoption agency in the US to help American couples to adopt a Chinese baby girl. I thoroughly enjoyed it and lent it to my daughter and she brought it back to-day and she enjoyed it and said it would be good for her book club as there were so many issues that could be discussed. There is the gal who runs the agency and her past that made her start the agency. There are the various couples who come to her to try and adopt a child. Lastly there are sections about the Chinese women who have to give up their little baby girls and how hard it is. It is a fairly fast read but does make you think.

I take water aerobics at our Wellness Centre on Tues. and Sat. mornings. On Sat. I was returning home and coming down one of our local streets when I saw 2 houses having garage sales one house apart. I don't usually stop at them but that day I did. I found Harv a pair of binoculars made in the US probably back in the early 40s. I looked thru them and they looked very good to me. He has a pair here and one in florida which he uses to watch the birds in the pond and on the golf course behind our house. I didn't realize that something had broken on the pair here so he was happy. He gave the old pair to Kyle to play around with and he was excited to be able to see so far with them. I bought a couple of small things then saw a pile of books. One was a book published in 1926 by Dennison crafts on crepe paper flower making. It has all the patterns in the book and is all in black and white like a lot of old books were. I have a lot of very old knitting books that are all in black and white. The other book was called "Faeries" by Brian Froud and Alan Lee. This one is not all pretty fairies. Lot of gnomes and ugly forms.
They are both hard cover and were 50 cents each. I think I will try and make some of the flowers just for fun. Harv said I miss my Sunday morning flea market and that is why I stopped at the garage sales. Maybe he is right. If you find something you get a better price then at the flea markets. They just want to get rid of their stuff.

Sue is an avid reader and all three of her boys are also. I told Sean last week that as long as he has a book to read he would never be without a friend. They have been my friends all my life.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


My daughter has 3 boys aged 7 to 14. Her second son turned 12 yesterday and he celebrated with his friends with a pool party. His family belongs to a private pool club and you can rent the pool for parties, etc. It does include a lifeguard and she realy watched them. She blew her whistle a couple of times and they all obeyed her. He had invited 10 of his friends plus his 2 brothers. They swam from 2 until 4 (or should I say horsed around for 2 hours poking and kidding each other). Sue had ordered pizza for 4 pm and it arrived on the dot. They ate, some swam some more then at 5 parents arrived to pick their boy up. There was also a litle girl there. Her Mother came and stayed to help Sue so her daughter was invited also. She is the lady with the dark hair. I think the litle girl liked being among all those boys who completely ignored her.

I went with them for the first hour and a half and then I drove Kyle (the oldest) to Lacrosse practice at 3.30 and then went on home. Sue sent me these pictures this afternon.
I hope she had more then 1 cupcake with the three of them there. Just joking. His actual family party will be this Sat. when we will celebrate his birthday, her FIL's birthday and Father's Day for both Grandpas. Big cake for then.

This post is for family and friends who know them but all my blog friends are sure welcome.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Here are a few pics of the shady side of the garden. The pic with the bird bath was taken from the deck. We planted a line of hostas running between our yard and the yard next door to help keep the weeds down. They have no grass back there and it is pretty wild. Too many trees to do much with it. We had the flagstone path leading up to the front of the house put in about 3 summers ago. You just had to walk on the grass and we are constantly trying to grow grass back there and now we can. I planted the rhubarb yesterday and hope it takes off. If it does I will have to re-do that flower bed which I had planned to do once that tree was down anyway. I had planted the miniature hostas around the tiny frog birdbath but they have grown so wild that they have to be thinned out one of these days also. when you have a garden there is always something to do. When the flowers start to grow in the garden on the deck I will take some pics and let you see that.

Sunday, June 20, 2010


We have been having a lot of very bad weather. Thurs & Fri. evenings we had storms that shook the house and lightning like I haven't seen in a long time. Thurs. night the winds were around 70 miles per hour so they said and I would believe it. We were up in the loft watching the golf on the large screen tv and I began to worry when all the trees were swaying. the lights kept flickering on and off. I made Harv come down to at least the main floor where we could go either to the basement if the tornado sirens went off or at least into our inside bathroom with no glass windows. It did blow over for us but there were around a million without power that they were able to restore over the next day or so but today I heard about 64,000 still have none and it will be another day or two. No air, food all gone bad, tempers rising. Mother Nature gets back at us for mistreating the land we have.

Well yesterday when I woke up and looked out all I could see were branches and leaves all over the deck and lawn. I worked out all afternoon cleaning up, pulling weeds and lugging buckets of pure gold compost around the flower beds. We had a very large tree removed last year because the tree had actually started to lift up the huge slab stairs coming off the deck. They drilled down to remove the stump and roots and all the mulch was left. Well it composted and is wonderful stuff. I spread as much as I could around and then planted a huge stand of rhubarb that my daughter had picked up at the side of the road. A sign said "Rhubarb free - take what you want". She said it was so much she had to get the gal to give her a shovel and some boxes to break it up into moveable pieces. She planted one bunch in her yard and now I have the other where the tree was. It is the sunniest spot in my garden so we will see if it will grow there. I will get the camera and take some pics tomorrow if I can. They are calling for 90's this week with rain showing for every day or evening. Great for the lawn and trees, etc.

I do have a couple of garden pics of this little area that is between where you come down off the deck into the shade garden. It is between the stairs and the fence. You may like my lady bug. I bought her at our garden walk last year. They collected old bowling balls and painted them. I think they did a good job. They sold them for $15.00 and sold all they made. You will see the empty space where the tree came down behind the large Blue Boy hosta. He sure is a big boy. There is also a small bird bath that I bought at a flower show in Florida and bought home. It is ceramic and has a green frog sitting on it. I do bring it in for the winter or it would crack.

Thursday, June 17, 2010


I don't know why Blogger turned the 3 pics of Pat's items sideways. They were taken with portrait but ended up sideways. Good old pic of Hugo's tape was taken awhile ago and it turned out right - wouldn't you know it while Pat's pretties didn't. If anyone knows why this happens please let me know.



Yesterday I received some mail and it was a small packet from my friend Pat Winter. When I opened it up out popped all these pretty ribbons and co-ordinating silkies. The "piece- de-resistance" was a package of staples. What you say? Staples? Well these are staples that maybe some of you have never seen before. They are colored and metallic.

There is a little story that goes with this. Back last winter Pat mailed me something and my little eye spied a green staple. I had never seen a colored staple before so that started me on the trail. I went back to Pat and she said she found them at Wal-Mart. Well off I went and asked a woman working in the office supplies where were the green staples. Well she gave me the old fisheye and said we have no green staples and I have never seen any. Well Pat found some more and she very kindly sent me some green ones. Well in this little gift was a box of 4 different colored staples. They say they are for scrapbooking, papercrafting, etc. so I assume that is the type of store where Pat found them. Whatever I am very pleased to have some. Harv said are you going to take them in and out of the stapler and I said no of course not - they will go in the kitchen stapler and everyone will get a color and he can use the silver ones upstairs in his den.

So if I send you something that is stapled guess what color you will get - yellow, pink, turquoise or the luscious green. Harv said I never thought a box of staples would get you that excited. We women are strange creatures. Keep the diamonds and give us the little stuff. I must add that along with this was the most beautiful card. My pic of it does not do it justice. I will save it and make something very special out of it.

One last small thing is something I had seen on the lists mainly from the Australian gals.
They talked about the new tape that sticks to itself but does not stick to anything you wrap it around. They were using it around spools of thread, etc. You just unwrap, take your thread and re-wrap. No fuss - no mess. Well somewhere within this past year I found it and ordered 2 spools - one for here and one to take to Florida. I wrap it around all my small boxes of items and if they fall they do not open. I took a pic so you can see it. It is called Hugo's new Amazing tape. The only address on it is: LA, Calif. You could google it and find out who is selling it. I have almost used the whole roll in Florida and will be ordering more the next time I see it.

Sunday, June 13, 2010


We feel as if we live in Chicago as far as daily life is concerned. We are in a suburb about 25 miles from downtown Chicago. We have a train station to Chicago just a couple of miles from our house which commuters use daily. At one time these were thought of as the suburbs but as in all large cities they continue to expand and now we are the close-in suburbs. Homes are being built another 20-25 miles further out then us and I am sure the sprawl will continue wih time. Where it will end who knows.

We are lucky to live in a very small wooded area on a 6 house court if you remember the pictures I posted upon returning in May. One of the things we have constantly are both deer occasionaly and racoons frequently as in every night. Well recently there is a mother racoon who comes out in the mornings around 10am and forages for food. They are possibly living under one part of our deck. Our neighbour across the street was mowing his lawn a week ago and if she didn't come right into his garage, open the garbage can and helped herself. Garbage was strewn everywhere and he didn't even know she was there. Now we all keep our garages shut even if outside gardening. After the memorial day holiday our garbage day is normally Fri. but with the holiday it was Sat. Our next door neighbour forgot and put his out Thurs. night. Well Fri. she went across the road and with the garage closed we watched her walk along until she spyed their garbage and she was soon strewing it all over their driveway. Next we see mother with a couple of babies in the mornings. The other morning Harv was reading the paper at the kitchen table and called me. She was on our deck with 2 small ones and 2 more trying to get up onto the deck (about 1 foot maybe). It was very funny watching them. All four finally made it and by the time I thought to grab the camera she was down the steps on the flagstone into the shade garden area. I did catch a pic of her and then one of 2 of them near my flower pot.
I sound like I enjoy them but I really do not. It was just seeing the 5 of them together.
Every night around dusk our outside lights come on and we know they are crossing our deck or around the side of it.

Another nature moment happened when we were not home yet. Our gardeners came to mow the lawn and they saw a huge ball of bees hanging from the small tree/bush that is around the outside coach light. He said it was huge and about 18' long. It pulled the branch right down. He told his men to stay away from it and go way around. Well our neighbour across on the corner was called by his son to come look at our house. He did and grabbed his camera. He said the bees were swarming and he took this picture. Apparently within a short time they were gone and heaven knows where. He gave us a couple of pics for us to see when we got back. I am posting one here.

Also a little happy bit for me. I planted a clematis against the house on a trellis a few years back. Did not ever get a bloom until a couple of years ago and then I got maybe 2. Well this year I am happy to say that I have 5 or 6. I took a picture of my prize like it was in the Botanic Gardens. Who says you can't grow Clematis in shade. Well growing is the easy part - flowering is the hard part.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

More Needlepoint

I have a couple more pics of needlepoint pillows that I have done over the years. They live in my living room in a pair of wing back chairs.

The round one is one of the first ones I ever did and it was a kit that was offered thru one of the magazines and was a long time ago. It was a copy of a plate from a dinnerware set used in the White House. I believe every occupant has their own choice of what dinnerware they will use so I don't even know what Preidency this was from. Probably 35-40 years ago.

The second one is a typical British pug dog that was fun to do. Talking about pillows reminds me that I did another one and I just went upstairs and found it in the dresser in my spare room. It is a picture of the Union Jack on a flag pole blowing in the breeze with a cloudy sky in the background. It also says Great Britain below the flag. The border around it is made up of crowns. I think I will put it in a bag in the car and start looking for a great fringe for it. Hobby Lobby usually has a lot and Calico Corners is another possible. I think the backing should be royal blue velveteen as shown in the flag colors.

I wonder how long it will take to find a fringe and actually finish this. Don't hold me to a time frame. It has lain in the drawer for many moons already.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


I mentioned to Allie one day that I used to do quite a bit of needlepoint. She said show me some one day. I took the camera into the living room and came up with a few. The two black ones on the sofa and the bellpull on the wall are all Elizabeth Bradley kits that I purchased on trips to England. They are quite pricey here so were a little more affordable purchased there. They are done in the old berlin stitch which is similar to cross stitch. When finished I made the pillows and backed the wallhanging myself. This ends up being a very expensive hobby if you cannot do the finishing yourself. I have a needle rack that you can make various sizes with and I dampen a towel, roll the finished canvas up in it until it is damp enough to pull and then you attach it all around to the nails on the frame. When I am happy with it, I take a spray bottle of water and mist it. I then put the frame in front of one of the heat vents until dry. If you have squared it enough it will come off the frame straight. If not, it can be repeated again.
I usually have done this in the winter so the heat is on which helps with the drying. I think in the summer it would dry naturaly but take much longer.

The first two pillows are part of a series. One is called "The Three birds" and the other is called "The Wreath of Herbs". I don't remember the name of the bellpull but it is all flowers. I took a closeup of the top flowers.

Funny little story is I had so much thread left from the bellpull kit that I thought I would duplicate it for Florida and do the background in off white. Well there were some yarns that I knew I would need more of plus the background yarn. There is a store in downtown Chicago that carries Elizabeth Bradley loose yarns. So off I go with good old Harv doing the chauffering and find the store. Well the individual yarns were in hanks so you had to buy a whole hank even if you just needed a couple of threads. I must have come out with a dazed look on my face as I told Harv the extra yarns cost me more then the whole bellpull kit did. I did do it and it is hanging in my home in Florida and I do like it. I just found a picture in my files of the Florida one and added it in.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

We have a bit of a mystery around here. When I came home from Florida there were 2 ties sitting on the table in the laundry room. One looked like my SIL would wear - very executive looking but along with it was a very unusual one that I took a pic of to show you. The mystery is my daughter (who unlike her Mother has a very good memory) says she did not put them there. Says she has never seen it before. Well I asked my son & DIL on the weekend if they had dropped them off and they both just laughed at me. Friends who know me know that I made a large wallhanging all out of silk ties and have used pieces in some of my other work - hence people giving me ties. They were the only ones in the house except the man that checks on it for us and he doesn't even know I sew. It is very unusual as you will see. It will solve itself sometime.

I have 2 very good giveaways to tell you about to-day. Vicki of - makes the most gorgeous birds nests out of fabulous yarn and is giving one away. Go to her blog and have a look. You will be amazed.

The other one is Alicia of - has put together a beautiful giveaway to celebrate her 300th. blog. I would like to win it myself.

Time to go and catch the end of the Chicago-Philly hockey game. I guess you can take us out of Canada but you can't take the hockey out of our Canadian blood. Go Hawks.