"Every house where love abides
And friendship is a guest,
Is surely home, and home sweet home
For there the heart can rest."
~ Henry Van Dyke

Monday, October 31, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

This week's Make do and Mend project is Jos' work. He had bought a gate for my garden in our previous house. You can read about that garden and what inspired it here and here.

The garden gate came with us to our new house. It has taken a year but Jos has finally put the gate in. We talked to a gardener about having him put it in but the price would be astronomical to do so. I convinced Jos that he can do more than he thinks and this among them. *grins*

He bought some pressed wood boards and had them sawed to size. He then measured and dug the size we need for the concrete posts to be made. The concrete was mixed and placed directly into the hole using the pressed wood to create the square post and the long bolts inserted into place. A couple of days allowed for the concrete to set and we had our base. The posts of the gate were screwed in place.

Gate love is a wonderful thing. *wink*

Jos wants to try and create an arch of beech now to the gated area. We have a beech hedge already and had added the extra beech on the right of the gate which you can see in the photo. It is much smaller than the established hedge but time will make up for that. We will need to find to tall beech trees with a strong central stem. These will be planted just beside each gate post and eventually connected as an arch over the gate. November is the month to plant beech so we are going to start searching for two of them at garden nurseries.

Before I go on this last Monday of October (where did this month go to so quickly?), I want to wish you all a very Happy Halloween by sharing my Halloween tree...

Saturday, October 29, 2011

It's beginning to look a lot like Christmastime.....

.....everywhere you go.
Take a look in the five and ten glistening once again.
With candy canes and silver lanes aglow.....

Well, not everywhere but it is in the little village of Diever in Holland. This village is such a lovely place but made even lovelier when Lejo and Christy took over the shop called 'In de Lindentuin'. It was my first time to visit this shop as we always visited their shop in Havelte. Lejo was working on setting up for their Christmas open house tomorrow morning. I asked the lady in the shop if she would tell him hello from me and she told me to just go through. He is doing an amazing job in this beautiful room and it is going to be a real treat! He will be making soup in the little kitchen area to serve while people shop. I am so glad that I was at least able to get a sneak peek and told him that if he stopped now with what he has done it will be perfect as he is working so hard to get it ready in time.

Come have a look...

But we really have to have a closer look so come around the corner and into the shop...

This is a corner of the Christmas room which will be revealed tomorrow morning at 11am. If you are Dutch and able to get here tomorrow, it is well worth the visit!

I am not connected to the shop other than being a customer who enjoys the wonderful way that Lejo en Christy set up their shop. I think they have a wonderful eye for setting things up. If you cannot go there, you can always look at their webshop which does mail orders. Lejo also keeps a blog for the shops.

Just in case you are wondering, I am still loving my pumpkins and autumn but this little glimpse of Christmas has me itching to start the season in my own home. *sigh* We have been out today enjoying all the pretty fall colors. This poncho on my handwork blog kept me warm. After having been sick last week and unable to get out, it was such a pleasant day. In fact, I have to go now and peel my roasted chestnuts for dinner. If you are interested in roasting your own, stop over at my other blog to see how to do it.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

For the love of pumpkins!

I love autumn! I love pumpkins! I love to look at them and to eat things made with them. Pumpkins make me smile inside...

If you read my blog regularly, you know I have a tray that I use as a stove top cover. I would love to have one like this but have decided that I will have to try making one if I am going to get one. And that works with my Make do philosophy this year. Don't tell Jos but he is going to help me make one. *wink*

In the meantime, I decorated my tray with things of the season. A pumpkins placed in a tipped over clay flower pot, some silk autumn leaves, a piece of lace, an iron acorn napkin ring and some berries. I even added a pumpkin Trick or Treat magnet this week for Halloween.

I have pumpkins on quilts I have made...

On stitching I have done...

In the garden...

This year, I had a pumpkin vine in my garden. We had a cloudy and rainy summer so each time a blossom was on the vine, it rotted away. I was sure I would not have any pumpkins until Jos came in and called me out to the garden. He found one little pumpkin peeking out behind our bench. It is small but I cut it off the vine and it sits now with its big brother which I bought at a pumpkin farm.

Yes, pumpkins made me smile inside!

Note to Vicki - Thank you so much for your comment on this previous post. I am not able to email you in return but hope that you will see this on my blog. You are correct that I have diagnosed with an eye disease. I am feeling very hopeful that the disease will not progress to much farther while it is in the active stages. I am not done using my eyes yet. *grins* Thank you for your words of encouragement.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Just a happy moment...

I grew up watching The Little Rascals (yes I might be dating myself...grins) and they are so much fun to still watch. Here is a happy moment on this Friday afternoon...


Friday, October 14, 2011

Red toadstools...amanita muscaria

Every year, we drive along the Compagnonsfeart in Friesland to see the red toadstools (amanita muscaria) growing along the tree lined banks of this canal. There were surprisingly few this year but still a couple to enjoy. There is something magical about these red toadstools with their white spots. It could make anyone believe in gnomes or elves. *grins*

The Elf and the Dormouse
by Oliver Herford, pub. 1919

NDER a toadstool crept a wee Elf,
Out of the rain to shelter himself.

Under the toadstool, sound asleep,
Sat a big Dormouse all in a heap.

Trembled the wee Elf, frightened and yet
Fearing to fly away lest he get wet.

To the next shelter--maybe a mile!
Sudden the wee Elf smiled a wee smile.

Tugged till the toadstool toppled in two.
Holding it over him, gaily he flew.

Soon he was safe home, dry as could be.
Soon woke the Dormouse--"Good gracious me!

"Where is my toadstool?" loud he lamented.
--And that's how umbrellas first were invented.

Do you believe???

Today was exactly 7 years ago that we got our keys to Cranberry Cottage. We have been here for the week and it is almost time to go back to the city. Neither Jos or I want to leave. *sigh*

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Will you go for a walk with me?

We are off to the nature reserve of Fochtelooerveen. This is an area of wetland bog called 'veen' which was cut into blocks for turf or peat. This kind of heat source is no longer used in Holland and these areas are now protected.

The path starts out paved as this section is also a bike path. Be sure to listen for bicycles coming...

The woods are open here with many birch, beech and oak growing. Here and there, you can see some fungi growing on downed branches.

Elderberry are full of berries which is a feast for the birds.

Coming out of the open wooded area, we have to cross a bridge to go further into the woods.

We have to enter the dense woods which is like going into a troll's woods dark and spooky. Looking ahead you see light at the end of the path.

This area is rich is various kinds of toadstools some of which are huge. They are thriving in the dark and damp conditions.

One section of the dark woods had been chopped down and a little section of light creates an eerie path across the old tree roots which are covered over in moss.

At last, we arrive at the lookout tower which is a 15 meter (50 foot) construction of wood and steel. It is a steep climb but the outlook will be worth the effort.

Don't worry about the swaying feeling in the wind, it is safe.

We are as high as the tree tops.

And this is our reward, views out across the area...bog as far as you can see.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

This week it is a make do project in every sense of the word...

Last week was my monthly quilt group evening. I showed them this fun idea which costs nothing but is fun to do. I saw it on eHow. The fun thing is you have all the items in your house and after autumn, just take it apart and there is nothing extra to store away. Fabric toilet paper pumpkins!

Take a roll of toilet paper, a fat quarter of fabric and a scrap of fabric. You could use a handkerchief for this even as long as it is large enough to wrap over the roll.

Place the toilet roll in the middle of the fabric and start to stuff the fabric into the roll...

Continue until the toilet roll is completely covered...

Roll a scrap of fabric tightly, tucking in the rough ends...

Insert the roll of fabric into the opening, adding a real or artificial leaf, berries or acorns if desired (see the orange pumpkin above)...

Use fabrics that you like for autumn. How says a pumpkin cannot be pink? *grins* Whatever you like. White pumpkins are all the range so why not try white? I am an autumn girl myself and used green and orange. This is also great fun to do with kids or grandkids.

Have fun!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Make do and mend Mondays

Mondays are fun days when you see things happening around the home. Jobs getting done and things being spruced up...

I have mentioned how I loved watching Kirstie's Homemade Home. She advocates looking for second hand furniture instead of buying new. Her reasons are that it is cheaper, often better quality if it is old and good for the environment. Yes to all points but I think for me that most fun about buying vintage or antique items is that you have something unique.

I went to a place with a friend of mine that sells vintage and unique Belgian and French garden accessories during the summer. The woman imports the items herself and then sells them from her own garden. I bought a couple of fun items. One of them was a set of wrought iron garden wall sconces. They sat while Jos was too busy at work waiting to be hung. They are incredibly heavy. They would have been hung already but Jos did not feel his hooks were strong enough and he had to buy bigger ones. But now they are hung and I have placed two pumpkins on them to celebrate autumn.

And now I would like to hear your opinion about something I was considering. I do like the rusted look of these but I am thinking of maybe painting them black. What do you think? We moved my black wall ornament over and exchanged it for the garden mirror. Should I leave it all as is? Should I paint the sconces black? Should I move the wall ornament around the corner to the front of the house?

I added a photo that shows the true colors of the items and the brick wall. I hope you tell me what you would do? I love black items but is it too much black?

To update my challenge to finish UFOs in my quilt studio...I am now close to finishing the hand quilting on a doll's quilt that I made the patchwork top for and then left for later. I am really enjoying the quilting and glad the challenge has made me pick it back up again.