Monday, October 24, 2011

Around My House

This painting touches my heart because it reminds of the lake where I grew up. When my mother was only about 23 years old, my father, who as 25 or 26, built her a little row boat to take on rides across the pond to pick the water lilies and bring them home to put in a bowl on the table. She often left the house while everyone was still asleep and did her morning "rounds" in her boat, observing what was going on in the surrounding forest, calling out to the loons and ducks, and enjoying her young life. She had a big family and she taught every one of us how to observe and appreciate our surroundings. To this day I cannot go to a fabric store without "seeing" the nature around me, which excites me very much, so today I am showcasing the beautiful pumpkin field which I see outside my window, and sharing a bright craft.

pumpkin field

I was not the only one taking a photo opportunity in this field: there was a constant stream of people stopping and posing their children, sitting on top the pumpkins, and getting their own pictures taken amongst these colorful squash. Others posed beside tractors and harvest machinery, and there was an occasional lady in a matching orange dress getting her picture taken.

fabric pumpkins

The pattern and instructions for these cloth pumkins are here. These were made for a friend, who asked for them. She uses chili-pepper red in her home decor. These were made from a McCalls craft  pattern that I got last year, but I found that my old way of making a huge circle and putting a running stitch around the edge, and gathering it, was much easier and makes a pumpkin so similar, that it is really not necessary to sew 8 persnickety pieces together.  You can get the same effect with the circle, which is much easier. The tendrils are green chenille wires, and the leaves are of the same fabric ( a woven metallic, which was quite inexpensive) with an iron on interfacing, stitched on the machine in a satin stitch edging. Patterns and instructions will follow, eventually.

I used real pumpkin leaves to make patterns for my cloth pumpkins.

These velvet pumpkins are from Victorian Trading Company. A lot of crafters are using the real stems from pumpkins, for the craft pumpkins, as they are like wood, but I was not able to make this work for mine, so I used brown felt.
This site has free pumpkin leaf patterns (shown in the picture, above)  and shows how to make the tendrils from florists paper-covered wire.
These are the fleece fabric pumpkins I made last year, now on my mantel. Somewhere on this blog are the step by step instructions to make them, by tracing a large circle from your largest round bowl or pizza pan.

An autumn oil painting sitting over my fireplace mantel, painted by a local artist many years ago. It looks so much like my lake in autumn!

This is some fabric I used for a dress, inspired by that pretty pumpkin field in the background. It is a rather wild print but in the country, anything goes.

Garment has a wide obi belt that goes with it (not shown)

This little fellow, Henry, comes from a neighboring farm to crow right under my bedroom window each morning. Then he goes and crows somewhere else, til he has done the rounds. I give him the left-over communion bread when I'm cleaning up the communion after church. There are usually a few little grains left, and he waits at the bottom of the steps for me to come out. He seems to follow anyone wearing a skirt, probably because they are the ones with the scraps of food. Sometimes he waits at the front door and greets the church members with his cheerfulness as they go in the door. Both the peacock and the banty rooster have made the mistake of following people into the meeting house a couple of times.  We would prefer not to clean up after they leave their calling cards. Once in the summer when the windows were open, this little rooster crowed all during the sermon, which just happened to be about the apostle denying Christ before the rooster crowed three times.

Henry walks around in the garden here and crows at people as they enter the meeting house. It was built in the early 1900's and appears to be similar in style to some of the Amish meeting houses.

Hmm...wonder what kind of fabric would remind me of this sunset taken just last night:
It reminds me of one of the paintings by Jesse-Wilcox Smith, and another by Besse Pease Gutman,  of a mother and child looking at the moon.

Sweet and Low by Jessie Wilcox mith
This painting has similar colors to the sunset pictured above.
Moon Beams by Jessie Wilcox-Smith

I recently used a couple of coupons at the fabric store and got a very good bargain for some foam to make a seat for this old, long wicker couch. Temporarily, it is covered with a quilt, but later I hope to get time to cover it with upholstery fabric and welting (piping), possibly with something like this:

In the meantime, it is easy to make a change of looks for this couch, by wrapping a quilt around the seat, and adding matching pillow shams.

I have been looking at these giant magnets at Collections, Etc. which has a mail order catalog and one online, and finally got one on sale for about $5.00 for my dishwasher. They are available with scenery and still life paintings for washers and refrigerators too. I have my eye on the rooster/farm scene magnet for the side of the washing machine in my laundry room.

From the same catalog I ordered this little rug, which puts some brightness in my monochromatic living room:

Some brands of applesauce have apple barrel shaped jars. Here's a collection of these kinds of jars, from relish, baby food and other products, that all look like the old fashioned apple barrels. I've always wanted to make some canisters out of them, so this year, I painted the lids, and found some water-slide decals from The Decal Cottage online, and made myself some homestead style canisters. The decals show up better on a white background, but look okay on clear glass.

Here is the finished product:

Like some of the other homey bloggers I've been culling and sorting things, and when I got my magazine collection, I found this picture on the back of a quilting magazine. It is made of photo- quality shiny cardstock, so I cut it out to make a card for someone, to share the intensity of the season. We are having a warm autumn, temps in the 70's, with lots of sunshine.

One more photo before I mail these treasures. Autumn is nearly gone!

These are all projects I have been working on in small snatches of time since my last post, between housekeeping jobs. Autumn seems to have inspired a lot of bloggers to de-clutter and deep clean, gutting out entire rooms and giving them a good going-over. I read somewhere that autumn is God's reward for surviving a long, hot summer! 

" Thou crownest the year with thy goodness..."
Psalm 65:11


Evelyn Edgett said...

Lady Lydia, you always inspire me to improve my home with creativity, and you have done it once again. I don't think I have ever said thank you for your posts, so I wanted to do that now.

sunnyskiesandsweettea said...

Absolutely adorable canister set! What a great idea. These would make great christmas gifts. Thanks for sharing!

Amy Jo

Anonymous said...

So many pretty ideas! Thank you! We put a plate I loved on the copier and copied its pattern and then cut it out and put it on the front of my homemade canisters and covering it with clear contact paper. Ours have green lids. God's sun sets and cloud formations and sun rises are fantastic. Each and every one of them. My favorites. I enjoyed seeing your newest decorating adventures. The couch looks pretty as is for now. When you can get the fabric of your hearts desire for the cushion it will be like another new couch..again! :) We are in and enjoy our homes so much each and every little change up or freshen up is so fun. Gives us a smile every time we see it. Thank you too for the homemaking series you and others did. Wonderful. Sarah

Lydia said...

Amy, TThese water slide decals do not show up very well on clear glass. I would prefer rub-on decals but was unable to find them. They look a lot better, but i have not found them anywhere for a few years. You might try the craft stores and ask for rub-on decals. You can't soak the jars in detergent and water, but can wash the inside with water and just wipe the outside. They don't have to be used for food. Sewing and craft supplies can be put in them.

Lydia said...

Bible Babe,

thanks for your compliment. I wish I had more time to get around and see all the blogs of the people who come here. The homemakers blogs are very beautiful.

Rightthinker said...

So lovely!

Anonymous said...

"Eight persnickity pieces".....that just cracked me up!!! I would prefer the circles, too.

What a fun post! I love the cannisters. I collect those jars, too, as I love their shape. I never thought of using them as cannisters, but now I shall collect with a new zeal. (I have used them in the past as gift jars---a pair of pretty gardening gloves and some seed packets fit inside nicely, and a pretty fabric circle tied with ribbon around the base of the lid is a nice touch for the gift.)

Thanks for the beautiful inspiration!

Anonymous said...

Yes, that second sunset picture really does resemble the painting of a mother & child looking at the moon!

Thanks for sharing the bits & pieces of what's happening at your feels like we were able to stop over for a short visit. :o)


Anonymous said...


Another beautiful post!! We are well into Spring here in australia (have five months to go until we see another Autumn). Nonetheless, this is a delightful entry!

if your pumpkins are edible, here is a fantastic recipe perfectly suitable for Afternoon Tea (be it with family or a larger gathering).

Serve with butter.

My mother used to have these ready fur us when we came home from school on cold, wet Autumn and winter afternoons; I have fond memories of the scones, wrapped in a tea-towel, coming to the table with an amazingly evocative aroma )Wrap your scones in a linen or cotton tea-towel to serve; the cloth allows them to breathe but remain warm . Serve with proper leaf tea or cocoa.

Here is a fabulous apple recipe you may wish to try.

You need to use proper Golden Syrup for these; corn syrup simply doesn't produce the same results. either order on line or buy from a specialty grocer. CSR golden syrup is the best.

Serve these with proper home made custard (creme anglaise)

Less cornflour will give you a 'pouring custard' (you may wish to add an extra egg in this case).

What a wonderful time of year! revl in the King of Seasons!!

Anonymous said...

Hi Lydia,
I was so pleased to see your projects have come along so beautifully. The living room and kitchen are just beautiful. I love how you covered a piece of pink colored and printed fabric with clear plastic and made lovely canisters from apple sauce barrel-jars to match and set on it. You are so cleaver.

The plastic covered fabric reminds me of the oilcloth of the 1950's when my mother used to cover the kitchen table and all her cupboards with bright prints. It smelled so fresh and clean too.

I had to share for Autumn I found lots of silk flower bushes on sale at Michael's craft supply store and "planted" them in porch rail boxes, hanging planters, and in my flower beds among the cranberry colored hydrangeas. Sure looks like Fall is here now. Really cheery. I even gave a lot of them to my mother inlaw for her yard. She really loved them too.

Loved the story of the rooster at Sunday Services. God has a real sense of humor don't you think?!

Your blog has given me something to look forward to each day. Thank you soooo much!

Blessings, Mrs. J.

Lydia said...

Mrs. J. The oil cloth prints of days gone by were mainly the art of the 1930s to 1950's. I like the new prints so much better! If you use plastic to cover your table cloth, get the nice clear plastic that looks more like glass. Some of the other kinds of table plastic are rather foggy looking and not very attractive.

Your idea of using the silk flower for fall decor outside is nice.

Lydia said...

Oh Mrs. Eliot, you should come by and leave more comments. Im always getting emails asking about you when you are absent for too long!

I really like your autumn scone idea and would like to know how to make golden syrup and the custard..we don't have the same thing here, unless in a specialty British shop in a town where Brits reside. When lived in Australia I missed real Maple syrup and several other foods. Now I'm here and I miss several afternoon tea foods that are not found here.

Unknown said...

Great post! I loved everything---the canisters are my favorite!


Mrs. W said...

Mrs. Sherman! I LOVE that yellow floral fabric you might cover your sofa cushions in! If I'd seen that, I think I would have chosen it myself!

Lovely post! :D


Lydia said...

Angela, that decorator fabric was found at JoAnns online, but not in the stores around where I live. If you sign up for their email notices, you can get free shipping and coupons for shopping online. I might have to get that fabric online, but only if it goes down in price and i get free shipping.

Lydia said...

Angela, you did a good job on your cushions and the color looked great. I saw that print in the store but the bolt here did not look bright enough. I think each dye lot differs in brightness and that is why I have to buy all that I need from the same bolt.

Lydia said...

Does anyone know of homemakers message boards that someone could join? If so, please comment so I can put the links on my post or on the side bar. I have had several requests for this.

Anonymous said...


Sorry to say this, but unless you have a sugar refinery, golden syrup will be impossible to make. It is a bi-product of sugar production. Do your family here in Aus have friends who could send some over?

The scone recipe should be easy enough to follow. If you can get your hands on a good butternut squash (we call them butternut pumpkins here in Aus) this should do, but nothing beats the mighty 'Queensland blue' for authentic herritage pumpkin cookery

Anonymous said...


Have you seen this forum? Maybe it is what you were looking for.

This is my favorite time of year, with the most beautiful weather. All the bright splashes of color! I am always inspired by your blog to create something to decorate my home.

What a funny rooster! About 10 years ago my son (he's 18 now) made a pet out of our rooster, and would carry him around, even while riding his bicycle in the yard. It made me laugh to see him zooming by the window with that rooster under his arm!

Thank you for your blog, Lydia. It is one safe place I know I can visit and be encouraged.


Far Above Rubies said...

Such a beautiful dishwasher magnet. I must have one.

You always inspire me to make my home more cozy and lovely for my family.

Much love,


Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia

What sort of paint did you use to paint the lids of those jars. I like those very much.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia

You might find this post from a British blogger and writer interesting:

Title: How about a blockbuster lauding full-time mothers?

The blitzkrieg against full-time mothers continues. Now we have a greatly hyped film, starring Sarah Jessica Parker, of the greatly hyped book I Don’t Know How She Does It, about some businesswoman or other who holds down an office job and has children, and they miraculously don’t starve or freeze to death or burn the house down in her absence.

I think we are supposed to admire this. But actually we do know how she does it. She hires a foreign nanny (or if enormously rich, a British one).

Politicians whose wives go out to work do this, too, but media organisations, likewise crammed with wage-slave mothers, never refer to the presence of an expensive servant. All that is supposed to have gone out with Downton Abbey. [A new TV programme set in Edwardian times.] The wives involved are written about as if they do it all themselves.

No doubt this is all very well for the super-rich. Many children of such households develop enviably close relationships with the nanny, whom they see far more than their actual parent.

High-flying office work is fun, and it pays enough for tolerable childcare. But for hundreds of thousands driven to boring work to pay the bills, the work is not fun and the childcare, in crammed day-orphanages, is inadequate and sad.

I don’t know why we put up with it. Why is it still considered shaming and bad for a woman to bring up her own children?

Anonymous said...

I've read the book "I Don't Know How She Does It" twice, finding it strangely fascinating. In the book, the main character's obsession with her career at the expense of her family is *not* blessed by the author. While this lady is powerful, well-dressed, and admired at work, her home life is in ruins and she comes inches away from losing her husband. And then she reforms and comes home--an interesting ending for a best-seller, in a Hmmm kind of way.

Everywoman's fantasy ending . . . If only they could could get by on one income . . . . . and still keep all the material goodies.

Anonymous said...

Dear Lady Lydia

I have not read Allison Pearson's novel on which the film was based, and found the summary provided (at 5:04 pm) really interesting.

I supposed that's the point -- you can neither do it all, nor have it all. Many of the ladies who are home full-time do without things, which have been presented to us as essentials. There's so much pressure to have this and that.

A boy down our street has a new Blackberry phone, because he wanted one like his brother's ... Eh?

I should have told you that the article was by Peter Hitchens. Yes, he is related to Christopher Hitchens. Peter, however, is a Christian.

Anonymous said...

Commenter 2:58AM

I am a great admirer of Peter Hitchens. He is in fact the brother of infamous atheist, Christopher Hitchens. It is by the agency of God Almighty and Him alone that PH came to Christ around a decade ago now; formerly, he espoused the same ideology as his brother. Hitchens is little short of 'Appostle to the Atheists' due to the fact that he knows how the ideology works, how the minds of said atheists work, and has come up through a full and detailed interaction with the 'intellegencia' in the domains of academia, the supposed intellectual Press, has served as a foreign correspondant in pre and post Soviet Russia plus the Eastern portion of Germany, pre and post revolutionary Somalia and other equally exotic climes.

His ground-breaking work citing the impact caused by secularism, liberalism and atheism on the Church and wider society entitled 'the Rage Against God' gives an in-depth explanation of what has gone wrong in the West, and what we need to do to overcome it; it is so effective, because it challenges the likes of CH's theories and views in the language of such theories and views leaving them no room to move or refute God. A brilliant and essential work of Christian appologetics regardless of one's denominational affiliation. His earlier work 'The Broken Compass' is an excellent exposition of marxist systems such as communism and socialism, written from personal experience and with equally thorough care and attention to detail as given to 'The Rage Against God'. it is also a must-read.

Thank you for raising the work of this amazing eleventh-hour labourer in Christ's vineyard here; his work is essential reading for all who hold to the god-ordained truths Lydia so steadfastly upholds on this blog week after week..

Anonymous said...

Here is an excellent interview with Peter Hitchens wherein he explains his walk from, and back to God.

Well worth the listen.

Mrs. V. said...

Lady Lydia, I love this post. So many little snippets to see! I *love* the canister set you made out of the jars. I'm going to start keeping my eyes open for glass jars with that shape to make a collection of my own. You are right about Fall inspiring deep cleaning. I always do more deep cleaning in the cooler months for some reason.

ConsciouslyModest said...

What an inspirational post, thanks for the ideas of what to do with all the glass jars I've hated to throw away but haven't found a use for!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing these lovely photos. I love the cannisters made from apple sauce jars. It's those little details that really make a home special.

Lisa said...

I like your "jar" canisters!