Monday, February 28, 2011

Munday, munday......

Well I learned something new today by being a nosy blogger.

I love counted cross stitch so when I find a blog of a cross stitcher naturally I'm interested. And today I learned a new term.....Biscornu.

The dictionary says that a Biscornu is a French adjective that means "that which has an irregular form, with projections" or "complicated and bizarre." 

When I saw a picture of a Biscornu, I realized that I had seen them before but I didn't know that they had a specific name. 

I found some instructions on how to make this eight sided Biscornu here.


It looks a bit tricky but I think I might try to make one. I don't have any fabric that's suitable so I'm going to be forced to go fabric shopping.........oh dear ;)


Take care:)

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Is it spring yet?

Ya gotta love Deva....look at her......always looking for mischief:)
You'll be glad to know that she finally got on top of the boxes.......hmmmm
I've posted the picture below before but it's one of my favourites of her....what a serious face..... that's her......she always has an agenda and a mission........love ya Dev:)

Now........on to an important announcement......ahem.....

When I first started blogging I said that I would have a giveaway when I reached 25 followers. Lo and behold as of today I have 26.

Thank you lovely people........:)

Since a few of you seem to like my mice, I thought I'd offer one just like my avatar as the giveaway.......is that a good idea??

She is made of felt and is about 5 inches tall. She has a shawl to keep her cozy and a little shopping basket.



The deal is that anyone who leaves a comment on any post up to and including March 5th will be eligible.

So leave a comment if you'd like a chance to win a little mouse. I will pick one winner and post their name on March 6, 2011.

Take care.

p.s. You don't have to be a follower to enter:)......just leave a comment on any post during the draw period.

Dollhouses and such....

If you check out my complete profile you'll see that I like dollhouses and of course dollhouse miniatures.

I don't have a proper dollhouse at the moment but I'm working on it as I have a few miniatures that need a home.  I have a kit for a small cottage which has a porch which is very sweet. I was thinking of making it a Miss Marple type cottage.......maybe with a thatched roof:)

Years ago I had a Beacon Hill dollhouse kit that I started but I never finished it. For some reason I just couldn't get into working on it. I think because it was too big and I really didn't have the space. Plus the wood that it was made of was very poor quality and it splintered a lot.

This is what it would have looked like finished ........
I know that the picture looks fabulous but the reality wasn't. If you ever decide to buy a dollhouse kit go to a store that sells them and look at the quality of the kit because they are expensive and some of them are garbage.

I still do have three dioramas/room boxes that were gifted to me several years ago and now that I have a larger sewing room I can make a space to work on them.

They belong to a series called Street of Shops and they are top quality.....just beautiful and so easy to put together........here's one of the boxes that I haven't opened yet...



There are three shops that you can decorate and fill with whatever you want. I was thinking that the corner one would make a nice pub......The Amesbury Archer.


I was pondering about the other two......bakery? or hat shop? or grocer? or antique shop?......it's really hard to decide. What do you think?

...................................................................................
Side bar.........I was looking for ideas and I came across this article about Barbara Streisand. Did you know she has a shopping mall in her basement? Some people have way too much money. There are pictures!!!!!

http://www.harpersbazaar.com/magazine/feature-articles/barbra-streisand-house


Take care:)

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Hallelujah!!!!!!!!!

No. I haven't joined a gospel choir...........yet.

It was announced yesterday that they are releasing the Scottish census for 1911 on April 5, 2011. This is huge for those of us that are doing research in Scotland. It's totally huge for me. I'm so excited. I may finally find out something about my grandmother Mary Bradley nee McBride.

Mary McBride was born in Philadelphia in 1890. Daughter of John McBride and Annie Murphy. Good Irish stock. Annie, my great grandmother, died 4 months after her daughter's birth.

Then sometime after her birth, my grandmother was shipped off to Ireland to be looked after by family there. My great grandfather then disappeared off the family radar.  The family lore is that he went off to the gold mines to make his fortune....right:(

In 1904, when my grandmother (Mary McBride) was 14, she accompanied her aunt Mary McBride back to Philadelphia. For what reason? Who knows. She stayed there until 1908 and then went back to Britain arriving in Glasgow. The trail goes cold for me there until February 14, 1911 when she married my grandfather Henry Bradley.

Yes...they were married on St Valentines Day at St Francis in Glasgow. The church was purported to have a relic of St Valentine.......I often wonder if that's why they chose that church and that day to get married:)

I know all this information because of many hours of trolling through pages and pages and pages of on line records.

You know.......I wish I could be one of those people on "Who Do You Think You Are?"......Gee......imagine having all that help and flying here and there and finding your family in an hour......sigh.
 
Take care:)

Friday, February 25, 2011

The Colour Purple

On my bulletin board I have a faded clipping......it says..."Want to be more creative? Look at something purple: color studies show it activates our right brain, stimulating new ideas!"

I'm beginning to think that this is very true for me in particular. I used to have lots of purple around me but lately not so much and as I haven't been very creative lately, I've been thinking that maybe I need more purple in my life:)

I do have my purple Eeyore mug......


and, my purple pincushion....


But, I guess I need more........:)


I was looking for purple things and found this cutie.

Do you remember Sunbonnet Sue?  Some of the old patterns are here.


Take care:)

p.s. I have decided to take the 100 HDC off the blog record because it was making me unhappy:( Don't worry I'll still do it but silently.....

100 Happy Days Challenge...day 19

Recently, my local fabric store closed down :(

I was a bit sad about that but I did get some bargains....so it wasn't a complete loss.... and anyway the last few times I went there, they just didn't have what I wanted.

In the last couple of days, before they closed, they had some grab bags for $5 & $10 of lace and various notions so I bought three and I must say they were a bargain. In one of the bags though there was about a dozen skeins of variegated embroidery thread.

What do you do with variegated embroidery thread?

The only thing I could think of was Huck toweling.  When we had the family fabric store we used to sell several boxes of variegated embroidery thread to the local high school Home-Economic teacher for one of her in-school yearly projects......and, a couple of bolts of Huck toweling.

She used both to teach a type of embroidery stitching. I have since learned today that it is really a type of "weaving" and it  is also called Swedish Weaving.....you learn something new everyday:)

Huck toweling is very narrow and it's finished on the selvage edges. The students made tea towels and did the "weaving" on the bottom edges. Then they would pull threads at each end to make a fringe.

Here is a picture I found on this site........these have lace on the edge though.


I didn't realize that this type of work was still being done.  I haven't seen Huck toweling for sale in any of the stores I've been to but then my mum used to go to a special outlet to get a couple of bolts every year.

Well I didn't have any Huck toweling hanging around so I thought I'd use the embroidery thread to do some cross stitch. I saw a freebie pattern on a site called Cargaud la Brico.

I decided to do the pattern "de frises en coeur" with one of the skeins and it turned out really different.

It has a kind of 70's look:).......the needlepoint canvas that I had on hand was pretty small.......14ct per inch.  I was a bit rusty using that size but I think it turned out OK.


There was a tutorial that I saw about  doing an inset heart which I might work around for this and then I can maybe make a small pillow or pin cushion.

It may looked good paired with a denim coloured fabric in keeping with a retro look.

I think I might use the rest of the embroidery thread for more hearts.....maybe a different pattern.

Take care:)

Thursday, February 24, 2011

100 Happy Days Challenge......day 18

Well I missed it.......The Great Backyard Bird Count. I just saw something about it on this blog......365 Cat Ladies and Friends.

I found this blog as I usually do......being nosy:)  I love her cat art....and her bunnies. Go take a look.

I do have some birds to show though.......we live in an area with mature trees and ravines and so we get lots of wild life and birds in our backyard.

Here is one of our regular visitors. In this picture he was just a very young bird. The pine tree is right beside our back deck. Isn't he wonderful? (click on the pic to see it larger)


 Photo by Sean Tate

He's a Peregrine Falcon and he's around most of the year. They were endangered at one point but after being introduced back into our area they have made a bit of a comeback. Strangely enough they live mainly on the high rise buildings in downtown Toronto. I wonder where this gent lives? Anyway, he is very partial to the Mourning Doves that also visit our garden.

We also get Cardinals, Blue Jays, Sparrows, Grackles, Cow Birds, Crows, Chickadees ......lots of birds that we enjoy watching.

We also get birds that visit during migration. Here is a picture of a Baltimore Oriole. They usually visit for a couple of days in August when out Trumpet Vine is in full flower. They attack the trumpets to drink the nectar that is in the base of the flower.

And, we get hummingbirds.

Those two pictures are scans of photos my son Sean took:)

There were Chickadees at our feeder this morning. I think they are my favorite bird to watch.

Take care:)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

100 Happy Days Challenge......day 17

Yesterday, as you know, I received a shadow box. In the box is a small heart that is partially made of dyed shells that reminded me of something.....



On a family vacation trip to the Atlantic East Coast we drove into Lunenburg, Nova Scotia on an extremely foggy day and as driving was a bit hectic we parked and did a stroll along some of the streets. We came upon a gift and antique shop and of course I had to take a look.

The store had lovely stuff. In one corner there was a display of various sea related Victorian do dads that I poked about in. One thing that did catch my eye was an octagonal box that I thought was a jewelery box. It had beautiful marquetry on the outside and a design in what looked like mother of pearl. I opened it and was completely surprised to see what was inside........sea shells in  very complicated patterns.

The shopkeeper sensing a sucker potential customer gave me the whole history of the box. It was a reproduction of a Sailor's Valentine. Now, I had seen something like it before and I racked my brain trying to remember. Then it came to me that I hade seen boxes like it when visiting a marine museum in England. I can't recall which one it was but I think it may have been in Plymouth.

So you are saying what do these boxes look like......well sadly I don't have any pictures as the museum wouldn't allow them but I did google........I know, but a picture will help to show you what I mean:)




I don't if these are originals or reproductions as I understand that they are pretty rare and very collectible. They were produced between 1830 to about 1890. They were usually octagonal hinged boxes and most were small...about 8-9 inches.....easily portable souvenirs.

The art has been revived and you can get very pretty (and very expensive) modern versions:


I found a book on Amazon called Sailors' Valentines by John Fondas that I may get out of my library just out of interest. It looks like a very interesting book. Here's a view of the book on flicker:

 http://www.flickr.com/photos/smithsonianlibraries/4778019281/

But, I also found that the term "Sailor's Valentine" generally covers any decorative shell work of the period. I found another example in a musuem in Liverpool that's a bit different and I can definitely see that a sailor would make something like this during a sea voyage:



You can see this item on display in the Lifelines gallery at Merseyside Maritime Museum.  I've been to the Merseyside museum but I don't recall seeing this anchor:)

I don't know why but things like these boxes are fascinating to me.  Shells in general fascinate me.......I have a few in a small collection that I bought at Micheal's. I'm not sure what I'll do with them. They are nice to look at but very fragile which is a bit of a problem.


These boxes are nice ..............maybe:).

marthastewart.com

Take care:)

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Raggedy & Friends Embroidered Quilt Blocks......Free

I was bumbling around today through various blogs and I discovered a blog called The Painted Quilt. The owner of the blog has been releasing on a monthly basis, quilt blocks with a Raggedy theme.

All twelve are available now. If you go here  and check out the side bar you can download all 12 in PDF format now.

Take care:)

100 Happy Days Challenge........day 16

Today was a very happy day because I received lots of neat stuff....

In the mail there was a package from Artchix Studio with a Steampunk Goodie Bag that I had ordered plus, some freebie cards and a chocolate. I thought I'd use these mini bits on something yet to be decided upon..........


 and, a book I ordered from Amazon......



And then the door bell rang. It was a courier with a box and an envelope.

In the box was the giveaway I had won from Adventures in Media during One World, One Heart....


 The packaging and the gift were just beautiful.....



and, Deva really liked the box it came in:)


And, via the same courier in a very official mega size envelope (12 1/2 in x 18 1/2 in).....were some documents from the National Archives at Kew which have resolved a family tree mystery:)


Not long after this the door bell rang again. It was a package for the hubby. A Dyson vacuum cleaner???? What the heck?


It seems he had some points to spend.........It's good to see he's thinking about a hobby to keep him busy in his retirement.

Take care:)

p.s. The little heart in the picture I received is made of shells which reminded me of something very pretty I can show you another day.





Monday, February 21, 2011

Free Quilt Block Pattern......

At Amy Bradley Design there is a free pattern for Baxter the dog........kinda cute:)


Take care......

100 Happy Days Challenge.....day 15

Something warm and blue........................




Images courtesy of Google Images

That's my work done for today.

Enjoy:)

Sunday, February 20, 2011

100 Happy Days Challenge....day 14

OK...so I'm at day 14.........only 14 days.........geez it seems longer. I'm blaming the weather.

I was reading a blog the other day about a couple that had moved into their dream house in Dallas. It was a lovely house but I took exception when she described it as vintage mid-century.....built in 1962. Wait a minute!!!!................vintage?............mid-century? OK, I agree with the mid-century but vintage? I predate 1962 and I am NOT vintage! So there:)

Moving along........I like vintage fashion:) I like paper and making stuff with paper:) So I thought I'd show you some vintage fashion made of paper.

These beautiful creations were made by Isabelle de Borchgrave. 





All images courtesy of Google Images.

Enjoy:)

p.s. I'm not so sure I like counting days.........:(  What happens if I stop? Do I dare?
 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lavender Wands....free instructions

For those of you that were interested in the Lavender Wands........ I found at Bird Brain Designs much nicer instructions with a picture too.....go here .

On the same page there is also a lovely Lavender related embroidery design.


Enjoy:)

This is a very cool organizer.....

As I mentioned before I belong to Sew-Whats-New.com which is a free forum for sewers.

Anyway, I wanted to show you these two pictures of this idea that one of the members uses for her quilt fabric. I think it's brilliant.

pic 1 

pic 2

Take care:)

100 Happy Days Challenge........day 13

It was such a lovely day yesterday. The sun was shining and the snow was melting and then last night we had howling winds. I thought we might lose our roof and then I find out this morning that a local shopping centre did lose it's roof.

Now it's snowing again........big fat fluffy flakes. And, a big fat fluffy squirrel is attacking the bird feeder. That squirrel looks very well fed........on our bird seed. My husband put up a baffle thingy to stop them from climbing up but there's always one that figures it out. Usually the little red squirrels..... and the chipmunks. I love chipmunks.

Chipmunks are smart rascals......but they are too cute so we never chase them away.  We even put out piles of Niger seed to lure them closer. They will come right up to you. Very cheeky:)

Our Chippy

This is Chippy......I call them all Chippy as I never know if it's the same chipmunk every year.

Soooo cute:)........except when he steals our strawberries. We didn't grow any last year but I think we will this year if we can think of a way to make them chipmunk proof. As I said they are very smart and look at those little paws........hmmmm.

Well.......it won't be long until I can sit outside on the deck in the sun and have a chat with Chippy about not eating the strawberries.

Take care:)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Free Embroidery Pattern....

Cinderberry Stiches is offering a sweet embroidery pattern called Woodland Fairies.

Visit here and download:) Page down a bit and you will see the pattern.

Here is a little peek:


Enjoy:)

I won something............!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I am having a very good month folks. Maybe this positive thinking and doing the 100 Happy Days Challenge is paying off.  I'm serious.  I never, never win anything.........ever.

Anyway, as part of the One World, One Heart blog party, I won a giveaway from Jennifer at Adventures In Mixed Media.

I won a wonderful pink framed shadow box that I intend to put on my sewing room wall.

THANK YOU JENNIFER!

p.s. I'll post a picture when I put it on the wall:)

100 Happy Days Challenge....day 12

I am very happy that it is day 12...that means I only have 88 more days to go. Does that count for today's entry?

I wanted to tell you a very nice story with a bit of a mystery.

I have interacted over the years with very kind and truly wonderful people while doing Genealogical research. This last August I received a message through Ancestry from a lady who lives in Devon. I have no idea how she tracked me down but obviously she was a very good researcher and she had a mission.

She contacted me because on one of my trees there is an Ursula Roberts. Now Ursula is a  distant relative of my husband's second cousin. I have the second's cousins tree on Ancestry because he and I worked together about 5 years ago researching a mutual family line.

The lady in Devon is a collector of old letters and had bought a pack of letters that she thought might interest me. She really wanted to send these letters to me because she felt very strongly that they should be with some one associated with Ursala's family.  Here is some of what she wrote to me.............

........."Returning things to the family, reminded me of my Father, he owned a jewellery shop and in the last war a soldier brought in a model of a car, quite large, he asked dad if he could solder the bumper back on. dad did but the soldier never returned, dad had only his name, and tried all ways to trace his family, if the internet had been up and running who knows and he often said" this car should be returned to the family!"

I got all teary when I read that. What would you do?...........of course I took the letters!

I received four letters...........here's a peek at the envelopes and one of the letters.




Ursula Roberts was born July 18, 1884 in Stoke Newington, Middlesex, England. The letters that I received where very touching and wonderful. The dates range from 1893 to 1907.

1) To Ursala at school from her sister Evelyn (no date or envelope)
2) From Ursala at school to her mother (1893)
3) To Ursula from her cousin Helen (1903)
4) From Ursula at school to her mother (1901)

I tried to contact my husband's second cousin......who if he is still alive would be 81......but, I received no return response.  I did some preliminary research but so far not much has turned up about any further family of Ursula.

I did find out  that she was a Morman, that she married a John Drill in 1915, emigrated to the USA in 1935 and died in Devon in 1972 at the age of 88. I couldn't find any children.

If Ursula died in 1972, who had these letters all these years and why were they being sold now and not kept? A mystery eh?

In Genealogical research the next obvious step is to get a copy of Ursula's death certificate to see who signed as as witness to her death. It is most often a family member.

But, before I go to that expense I think I'm going to put a request on Rootschat to see if anything more can be discovered. If anyone is interested I will let you know what happens via this blog.

Take care:)

A Thank you.....

I want to thank the 17 people that have decided to publicly follow me on my blog. You are truly wonderful.

Thank you

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Something very interesting.....

I love videos where you can see the work in progress.

http://vimeo.com/15076572

The artists are Supakitch and Koralie.

Enjoy:)

p.s. I've watched it a couple of times...I can't believe how accurate they are when they are painting...wow!

100 Happy Days Challenge......day 11

I really love buttons. If I go into a fabric store or craft store I always buy some buttons. I don't know why.  I very rarely use them when I sew so I've ended up with quite an eclectic collection over the years. I also have some that belonged to my mum. I have some that are very old given to me by a friend who passed away many years ago....lots of old mother of pearl. Lots of vintage buttons. Buttons that have a long history.

Every so often I take them out and consider them wondering what I should do with them. Some I don't want to part with of course. But, realistically, what do I want with a bunch of buttons. I have no one to leave them too. I have sons and they aren't really into buttons.

So of course, when I received an email today about buttons from an online group that I belong to called Sew, What's New,  I had to take a look:)

The idea was for a Button Jar Quilted Wall Hanging. It was OK but that wasn't what caught my interest though.........it was an additional link regarding a Button Art Showcase. Naturally I hyper-linked to take a look and found some really neat creations......

These are by a mixed media artist called Catherine Otto.  I like them.

Then, I had one of my AHA! moments. I think I may have a few ideas now what to do with some of my buttons.  I think I'd like some pictures made with buttons on the wall of my sewing room. Then I can take my buttons out of their box forever and look at them all the time.

But, best  of all I found out that........eeeek..........they have a Button Collecting group.........be still my heart:)  Hmmmm........should I?

Take care:)