Tuesday, September 24, 2019

A bit of fall decorating

I've done just a little bit of fall decorating; probably will only do a little bit more: some silk leaves added to a few areas, and hopefully finding a place for a sparkly white pumpkin bought on clearance last fall.

The sign at top is in the front hallway.  You can't tell, but the "Falling Leaves" part has a bit of glitter on it.  The burlap absolutely looks real.  I had to touch it to be sure it wasn't.  This cute sign is one that I found at Dollar Tree and really liked. 
 Just a cake dome with a pumpkin salt and pepper set inside ~ atop a vintage linen towel featuring a glorious autumn design.  On the dining room table.
 I failed to get a photo of the hutch in its entirety, but it's okay, I'm sure.  Most folks have seen the same fall items a number of times here on the blog.
 Love the corner below with a handmade autumn card and an antique pitcher featuring bittersweet.
 I like the way jadeite works so beautifully with autumn colors.
Above, some fall curtains I made years ago ... put them up in the dining area every fall.  And one of several fall banners made by my grandchildren.  All three banners are different.

And there you have some of my simple fall decorating!

Monday, September 23, 2019

Making some apple coasters

Photo from Pixabay
Many, many years ago now when we first met our friends Dick and Terry, they had some apple shaped fabric coasters in their home, which I really admired.  I had seen similar ones in catalogs but hated to spend the money.  I borrowed one of Terry's coasters, took it home, and figured out how to make one.

I even made a pattern back then, but my first coaster turned out smaller than I liked, so I apparently drew around it to make a couple of larger ones. (And then kept the too-small pattern!  What was I thinking?)

Still, I was glad I had kept it, for late this summer when the impulse struck to make some more apple coasters, I was able to quickly find the pattern.  Using it for my first coaster in this batch made me realize it was really too small, so I did draw around it to make a larger leaf and apple.

I will spare you the wretched details of my first attempt using yellow homespun plaid for the apples -- my others had been homespun and I really liked the look, but in the process of trying to stitch the coasters I made an unbelievable amount of mistakes.  (And homespun is really unforgiving of mistakes.  It tends to shred if you try to pull out stitches.)

I will try and give a tutorial of sorts,  in case anyone else is in an apple coaster sort of mood.  You will need the apple pattern, fabrics and thread, cotton batting, and a sewing machine.  Oh, and an iron.

Here is the pattern I ended up with.  I think if you click on it, it will open up actual size.

Logically enough, you will need to cut 2 apple shapes and 2 leaf shapes for each coaster.  You could use red, green, or yellow fabrics for the apples.  The first ones I made were red and green.  Of course you will want some shade of green for the leaves.  You will also need to cut 1 apple shape out of cotton batting for each coaster.

Start by making a leaf.  Place the two fabric leaf pieces right sides together and sew around them using a 1/4-inch seam allowance, leaving the flat bottom area open and being sure to backstitch when you start and end your stitching.   Turn the leaf right side out and carefully poke out the seams to make a well shaped leaf.  Press the leaf flat with your iron.

You are going to pin the leaf in place between the 2 fabric apple shapes.  Keep the point of your leaf down and line up its flat raw edge with the raw edge of your apple pieces.  If you like, you can fold the bottom part of the leaf slightly before pinning to give it just a bit more dimension, as I did.  You can see that quite well on the coasters pictured below.

Next, place the batting apple shape on top of the fabric apple-leaf-fabric apple sandwich.  Pin everything together very securely.

Now you are going to stitch around the apple/leaf combination, using a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Start on one side and stitch around, leaving about 2 inches open for turning, backstitching at beginning and end of stitching.  Trim your seam allowance to make it the apple smoother and easier to turn.  I left the seam allowance in place at the open area to make it simpler to tuck it in.

Turn your apple right side out, carefully smoothing the edges from the inside to ensure a nicely shaped apple.  Neatly tuck in the open part of the seam allowance and hand-sew the opening closed.*

Now top-stitch all around the apple (not the leaf)  close to the edge, to give a neat finish that will hold the batting in place.  It will also hold your hand-stitched opening securely closed.

* I tried to save time by just tucking in the seam allowance, pinning, and then doing the top-stitching step, as a means of closing the opening.  You can see in the photo below that this really didn't work out as well as I had hoped.  I've done this on bigger projects like hot mats or place mats, and it's been fine, but I think the hand-stitching the opening shut is really essential on a project this small, with a rounded seam.

There you have it!  An apple coaster!  Now make as many more apples as you would like.  Shades of red, yellow, green, or gold would all look nice.

I decided that the ones I made were too bright yellow, and I didn't really like the green I had chosen for the leaves, either.  (If only I had been able to salvage my homespun ones.  But I couldn't.)  So I picked a gold toile and a green calico for the ones I would be giving away.  I still wasn't thrilled with these, but liked them better than the brighter colors, and I wanted to get them on their way.

I kept the brighter yellow ones for our own use.  I mixed them in with our red and green homespun ones and they look fine.

Happy apple season! 

Friday, September 20, 2019

Friday five ~ September 20

Gorgeous graphic by Abby at Little Birdie Blessings</a>
Friday again, and time to count some blessings from the week!  Here goes:

1.  Last weekend's ladies' retreat at The Wilds of New England

Mardi Collier was the speaker, and she spoke on the Lord as our Good Shepherd.  You may think that sounds like a topic you are already well acquainted with, but you would be surprised how much more there is to learn.  I hope to write a post next week about the entire weekend, but for now I'll just say that the Bible teaching, the music, the food, the fellowship, and the surroundings were all simply wonderful.  A truly blessed time.

2.  A wonderful time of fellowship and Bible study with our young friends Sam and Jennifer, over Sunday night supper at their home. 
Another lovely graphic from Little Birdie Blessings

3.  A nice long nap.  Although I didn't mention it above, I got virtually no sleep on Friday night.  A surprising 2 1/2 hour nap on Monday afternoon helped me catch up a bit.
Another by Abby

4.  Time spent with a cousin at this wonderful place(photo is from a previous autumn)

We sat on the porch and enjoyed watching hummingbirds while gazing at the pond and chatting.  I finished up a hot mat I was crocheting, also.

5.  A large paperwork task cleared off my plate.  Still several more to go, but I'm happy this one is done with.

And there's my Friday five for this week.  Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Friday, September 13, 2019

Friday five ~ September 13

Taking a very few minutes for a quick version of Friday five!

1.  Breakfast with friends at Cracker Barrel on Saturday.

2.  A few moments last weekend for crafting and blogging!
3.  Getting some fall decorating done.  Some cleaning, too!
4.  The Bible study I've been doing in 1 Corinthians.

5.  The opportunity to attend a ladies'  retreat this weekend.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone!

Thursday, September 12, 2019

A few more late-summer scenes

 I went out with my camera again this week -- I think it was Tuesday's walk, which ended up not being until afternoon.  It was such a gorgeous afternoon with relatively low humidity that we lingered to enjoy many scenes along the walking route.
A gate was opened and the late summer asters and goldenrod peeked through.
I leaned into the gate to get this shot of the same flowers.
It seemed as if there were berries everywhere along the roadside.  These pink ones (above and below) were particularly amazing.
I think the red berries above may be winterberries.  It is hard to tell at this stage. 
Then above, some yellow berries which may possibly be bittersweet.  Again, hard to tell at this stage.

Below is another shot of those brookside flowers -- pink, yellow, lavender and white.

More crab apples like the ones at top.  I liked this angle.
Goldenrod against a little old sugar house.

And there you have a few more late-summer scenes from our neighborhood!

Monday, September 09, 2019

Scenes of late summer

Just sharing a few photos I took on Friday.  I admit to having no photography expertise of any kind; these are just some pretty scenes I saw around the neighborhood on Friday morning.

The first few, including the one at top, were taken on the grassy bank of a brook, just as a heavy fog was beginning to lift.  I took these around 7:30 on Friday morning and got my feet very wet from dew in the process.

 In the photos above and below, you can barely see what I was hoping to capture -- pink joe-pye weed, white and purple asters, and yellow goldenrod.  The pink flowers are near the center of each photo, just down from the top.  The fog really prevented them from being seen well.

When I got back home,  the sun was shining brighter in a few areas around the yard and it beckoned me to snap just a few more photos.
 A pretty leaf on the patio walkway.
 Lush ferns by an old mossy stone wall.

Wooden steps over a stone wall, surrounded by green, green foliage.

All too soon, fall will be here.  In my limited way, I wanted to capture just a bit of the late-summer beauty while it is still with us.

Friday, September 06, 2019

Friday five for September 6

How can we possibly be in September already?  This entire year has flown past so quickly.  It is September, though, and it is Friday, so I will see what blessings I can share.

1.  Time for blogging.  I wish I could post every day, but anytime that I can post is good.  I was able to post last Friday, then Tuesday and yesterday.  I don't take this time for granted because I don't always find it.

2.  Having our younger friends over for a meal -- we made chicken pot pie and served with cranberry sauce and mashed potatoes --  and Bible study on Sunday evening.  Always a blessing.  We were doing a review of one section of the study, and even though some had forgotten to bring their study books, we could still review what we had learned.

3.  Completing a project I'd been working on.  No photos -- the recipient reads my blog.

4.  A lovely phone chat with my daughter and granddaughter on Tuesday, not to mention my dear friend Jennifer.
I learned that granddaughter Emily (11) had earned some amazing prize ribbons at the Elko County Fair for her strawberry rhubarb pie.  She used her other Gramma's pie crust recipe and my filling recipe, so it's fun to think her grandmothers had a part in her win.  Hopefully I'll have photos and more details to share later on.  Below you see Emily (at left) tutoring cousin Julia in making a pie crust, last fall.

5.  A truly relaxing Labor Day weekend, in which we consumed far more than our share of delicious food:
A hot fudge sundae at Frosty Scoops on Friday night
Haddock baskets at a seasonal seafood shack on Saturday night
Ice cream on a rainy Monday at our very favorite (but not local) ice cream place
The ice cream in the polka dot bowl was mine, with the heart garnish.  Above is my hubby's.
 We also ate breakfast out on Monday, but I failed to get pictures of that.

And there is this week's Friday five!  What blessings are you thankful for in the week just passed?