Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Creative Leisure

Woman Reading

By Thomas Benjamin Kennington

English 1856-1916

I have taken a few hours each day to do something other than house keeping. During a visit to the TJ Max discount store, I enjoyed looking at all the plastic and glass pumpkins with beaded and sequined textures, in copper, green silver, iridescent purples and pinks.

It seems it was only a short time ago that critics were making sport of the handmade glittery pumpkin crafts on creative blogs, and now I see there are many cloth and paper pumkin decorations in the market. I saw several fabric plaid ones in autum color combinations. Inspired by the brightness of what I saw, I set about to make some soft pumpkins for the season for my home.
These make soft, decorative cushions for an autumn bed. After gathering the fabric with the stuffing, I tied circles around it in four to six sections to make it like the fairytale pumpkins. I did not see fairytale pumpkins or pink pumpkins at the local market this year, as in the past.

These cloth pumpkins that look like chenille fabric or ball-fringe, are made of the modern fabric called Minky, which comes in many wonderful colors.

The stems are made with a thick glitter ribbon, which is nestled inside the pumpkin before the thread is pulled up.

I used some shimmery fabric to cover over the fabric, for a couple of the pumpkins.


The pumpkin pattern is a large circle of fabric, made by tracing around a big mixing bowl or pizza pan or pizza cardboard. The fabric is then gathered around the outside edge using long stitches, by hand, and then pulled to gather slightly so that you can insert polyester stuffing. Then, pull the thread tightly and fasten. It is best to double your thread before sewing.

They look good displayed in a china cabinet or fireplace mantel, or a shelf, and, if you have no small children, they can be put on the floor in front of the fireplace or underneath an entry table. Check out some of the blogs and follow links to other creative pumpkins this year.

Here is a previous post I did on sewing pumpkins

These two pink cloth pumpkins have stems made of rolled brown paper.
To tie the pumpkin into sections. Cut a long length string or crochet cotton and tie once, pulling it tightly across half the pumpkin. Then tie again the opposite way, repeating until there are 6 to 8 sections.

I wanted to show, above, the long stitches for gathering.

And here is a post with a pattern for a paper pumpkin which also shows how to make cloth pumpkins and card


This candelabra came from Home Interiors about 30 years ago and over the years has been painted different colors.

Reading the Letter

I also want to share a few of my favorite pictures from the September 1993 Victoria magazine.


Also, I went to Dollar Tree and bought this woven tapestry placemat because I wanted to try it out at home and see if I liked it well enough to get more. It only cost a dollar, so if I decide that it isn't for me, I will use it as a runner for the top of an end table or something else. There were several other colors and prints to choose from at Dollar Tree.

The last of the summer flowers, still growing in these old boots.


Friday, September 20, 2013


It has been a week since the last ladies Bible class and I have heard from friends that they are looking forward to when I post again (Hint, hint), so today I will show scenes from yesterday's morning ladies Bible study. We are still in the tent but this time had most of the windows zipped over the screens, and turned on a little heater. I am thinking that might have been our last tent experience of the season before the winds and the rains come, but we might be able to do it one more time. I will end the tent meetings with a big bash of a fancy high tea and a special singing and presentation of Bible gardens, from Eden to Gethsemene.

This wicker was supposed to be sold in the sale but it did not make it.

The only thing I have to present that was in any way unique is that lunch box, above. I rescued it from someone's abandoned truck, hammered out the dents, and painted it. For awhile I kept it on my writing desk with the long envelopes, business size, in it, as it was a perfect fit.

Yesterday I lined it with wax paper and filled it with tea sandwiches.

We used all the cups I brought back from Australia. I hope I did not bring too many home with me, and I hope you Aussies have enough for yourselves.
My neighbor, who also comes to the study, has grown this pumpkin called sweet meat, and I enjoy having some of them on my front porch.

I am still so busy at home and looking forward to adding more to this post soon, on the subject of "detailing" and how it adds to the over all effect and personal satisfaction of the home. I will add to this post soon.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Tent Living

For the last few weeks I have been really busy going through my household things trying to down-size, so that I can manage housework a lot quicker. I was going to have a shabby-sale outside in this hot, dry weather, so I began storing a lot of it in the gazebo-tent that was purchased from Cosco. I think my family thought it was time for me to progress from the primitive sheet tents I have been using, to more modern camping!
The tent windows make it nice and breezy and cool inside, so I decided to host the Ladies Bible Class in it for the next few weeks.

Pastries and sandwiches were served with two different flavored teas.
The sandwiches were delicious, made from fresh-off-the-vine tomatoes and cucumbers, as well as meat and cheese, on bread made with unbleached flour. I used the cardboard fruit baskets which I saved, for serving dishes.
Take a look at what was used for the individual plates to hold sandwiches and pastries: the little berry baskets from a farm fruit-stand.

The nice thing about led-lites is that they can be put inside of a jar on the table. The day began rather over-cast and dark, so I enjoyed these lights during the Ladies Bible Class.

Through the tent window you can see the maple leaves are drying and falling from the huge trees in the front yard. The weather is very hot and there has not been much rain.

The ladies enjoyed sitting in the tent "parlor"

Half of the tent is created into a bedroom, where anyone in the family can take a rest or even spend the night. The roof of the tent can be removed so that I can look at the stars at night. What an experience that is! At the foot of the cot is the shawl crocheted by a friend, Anita Crane, whom I met when i first began publishing on the web.

The picnic basket came from Target and has an insulated food section that serves as a cooler for the refrigerated food items.
What about these duct tape slippers? My grandchildren decided to make them with paper and duct tape to wear in the tent so they could leave their shoes outside.
Those are led-light lanterns on the tables, which provide very nice light in the evenings.

The garden provided some fresh flowers for the tables. I like these particularly because they grow roots in the water and can be re-planted and multiplied.

Notice the shawl on the back of the children's chair, made by one of my readers.
The rugs, old cups and worn household things were being stored in the tent for a future sale.
Another look at the led-light candle lantern.

There is a place to hook a lantern on the ceiling of the tent. I turned a led tea light upside down in this candle chandelier, to point the light into the room.
The chandelier hangs from a handy hook on the tent roof.
I am blogging from my new quarters in the tent. I feel like I have left home, but you can see how close I am to the front porch. That is how brave I am with my glamping.
Notice the electric chord coming from the front door...
....that is for the electric porcelin tea kettle, above, to heat water in. You cannot make tea in it because it is designed to heat water only, to pour over the tea bag in the tea pot.
Someone brought me this lovely lavender rose from her garden.
I said all that, to say this:
Getting these things out of the house has certainly created more space for me, and I am enjoying not walking through aisles of boxes and piles of things in the hall, but...all that shabby stuff looks so good in the tent. Forget the sale. I think I will just keep it.
I have seen magazines about coastal living, log-cabin living, apartment living, motor home and camper living. Maybe I will see one about tent-living.