Friday, October 31, 2008


This was my grandmother's button bag. My mom has it now. When I was young, I thought of it as a treasure bag. I loved to look at all the buttons. I would dig my hand in deep and grab a handful, and let the buttons fall through my fingers, like gold. There were so many. All colors,shapes, and sizes; common and unusual. My grandmother saved all buttons. When an item of clothing was discarded from wearable use, she would cut the buttons off and put them in the bag. My mother did the same thing. When my mom made something for me, she would always look in the bag before she would buy new buttons. Now I do the same thing. Many things I make are unusual because of the buttons. I've kept buttons in tins or jars. Jars are nice. It's like a jar of candy sitting of the shelf. When I'm looking for buttons, I end up pouring the whole jar out, spilling some on the floor, trying to find the perfect button.
When looking for a button in the bag, the bag folds open, no pouring needed. It's easy to sort through and find what I need. It's time to make my own button bag.

What I need:
  • fabric 18''x 38''
  • 5 1/2'' round of cardboard
  • 8 1/2'' rings
  • ribbon - 1 1/2 yd.
  • Fold fabric in half, right sides together. Sew two sides. Turn right side out.
  • Find the center of the square, and mark a 5 1/2'' circle.
  • Insert the cardboard between the layers of fabric, centering.
  • Pin around the cardboard circle to keep in place.
  • Using your zipper foot, sew around the cardboard circle. This creates the bottom of the bag.
  • Turn the raw edges of the forth side of the bag to the inside and sew closed.
  • Sew the rings on. Place a ring at the center of each side, at the edge. For corner rings, place them 2 1/2'' from the point, in from each corner.
  • Press each corner point back.The corner ring in now at the pressed edge.
  • Choose your ribbon, and thread through the rings and tie.
  • Pile the buttons on the round and spilling over.
  • Pull the ribbon up from each side, letting the buttons weight the bag.
  • Finished!
A new bag, full of treasures.

So easy to plop open and search for the perfect button. Yet holding them in so they don't roll all over the floor. Maybe some day someone will remember this bag as grandma's button bag and think of it as a bag of treasure.

Saturday, October 25, 2008


The other day I was reading The Pleasures of Homemaking blog spot. Manuela had made a tassel using a bird shaped pepper shaker at the top of the tassle. It was done in black and white. Her tassel was so darling and simple. I really like tassels. They are a nice contrast to the many primitive things I have. I thought, "I can do that". So I rummaged around, thinking I had a pepper shaker I could Well, I had to do a few errands, I could stop at the thrift store and find something. I saw a couple of nice shakers, but the holes were off center, so it wouldn't hang straight. Mm mm.
I really wanted to make a tassel. When I got back home I thought, "I'll look for an alternative". Rummage, rummage........not finding anything. I know, I know, I could have made a plain tassel, with some beads on top. But that would not satisfy this time. Mm mm..........What to do?????
I was looking through some boxes of "stuff". You know, the stuff you are saving for the "perfect" project. Not seeing anything. I was starting to get bummed. At this point I just sat back, and let my gaze wander around, not really looking at anything specific, Just letting my eye look and communicate with my brain without my consciousness getting in the way. Have you ever done that?
Suddenly, something sparkling caught my eye, and communicated with my brain "that's it". What , what??? Oh, a glass doorknob. A newer one that I wouldn't be using in restoration on the house. I had it sitting out, knowing it would be just right for some project, sometime.
Out came the glue gun, out came the fringe and ribbon. As soon as the glue was hot, I applied it to the base of the knob and wrapped the fringe around it about three times. Wrapping the fringe around the fat knob makes the tassel look plumper, like it's a fat tassel, without using so much fringe. Then I added some bead trim, and topped that with ribbon. Then I glued a ribbon loop to the top of the knob.
Oh! There were two I did it again.Twenty minuets later, I had two tassels. I really like them. They are very elegant, and will go almost anywhere. You know........Christmas is coming. I hardly want to think about it yet. I want to enjoy autumn and Thanksgiving. But I make most of our gifts, so I need to get on with it. Tassels would be a lovely gift or decoration on a box or bag. I think I need to let my eye wander and "see" what else I could use to make tassels. Thanks Manuela for the inspiration.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Scrapy, Make Do Jacket

I made this jacket a while back. I thought it would be good for autumn, when you want something light. It was fun. It's amazing what you can make when you take a scrap from one project, then another from a different project, then put it all together.
Finishing by adding some embroidery stitches for a artsy, folk look. The "flowers" are little squares of wool, pinched together and sewn on so they stand out a little. I wish I had made the body a little longer. The 3/4 sleeves are nice. they stay out of whatever I'm doing. It's great for a layered look.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


This is a transitions time. From outside to inside. Getting that warm and cozy feeling in the home. I never really stop doing things outside. My focus just changes more to inside. In the fall, I tend to bring more flowers inside to enjoy than during the summer months. When it is warm, I enjoy the flowers and plants as they grow. This year, we have had a warmer fall, so the flowers keep blooming. They are so bright and cheerful these chilly mornings.
One of the transitions is having a warm spicy drink in the mornings. Homemade chai tea is so yummy! The making becomes a little ritual. The aroma of cinnamon, cloves, cardamon, nutmeg, and ginger fills the house. I spend a few moments contemplating the day ahead, and enjoying memories of "before".
My dear friend, Hannah, grew up making this tea in Kenya. It's a recipe to play around with and adjust to your taste.
3 C whole milk
2 T black Tea
2 3" sticks of cinnamon
4 whole cloves
several cardamon seeds, ground
1/2 t nutmeg
slice of fresh ginger
2 peppercorns
3 C water
Put it all in a pan and bring to a boil. Watch out! Don't let it boil over. Simmer the tea for about 30 seconds. Strain.
Add honey to taste.
Yum. Mum mm.
A wonderful way to wake in the morning.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Kids, Beaches, and Apples

In the middle of last week, I received a call from my daughter. She was at school, at cross country practice. The team was going on a beach trip the coming weekend. "Mom", she said "Coach says we need more chaperons for the trip. Can you come?" Yikes! These are great kids, so there won't be problems. I was thinking of all the things I had planned to do during the weekend. Like put the garden to bed. I had been trying to do this for a couple of weeks. Freezing corn. I had been trying to do that for a couple of weeks too. The laundry had piled up, some paperwork needs to be finished................STOP!!! All of these things would wait. Spending time with these kids was more important. So I spent a day getting ready, finishing what I could, then hopped on a bus with the cross country team. They work together, play together, and are great fun to be with. Talking with them and hearing their views about what is happening around them, at school, with family, friends, in politics, and the economic market was fascinating.
Of course I took my camera. Went down to the beach and started taking pictures.
The sun was getting ready to set. A little fog was rolling in. It would be a great, colorful sunset. I love the sculptural look of the wind whipped trees. Then the screen started blinking memory card FULL. Oops! That's one thing I didn't get done before leaving home. It was a beautiful weekend.
Arriving home, I found apples, a gift from a friend.
I got out this tool. What is it called???? It peels, slices and hulls at the same time. I've had it for years. I had never used it before. I don't know why.
It's a fun tool. It really helps the process go fast.
I have to say I did play a little with the apple curls. They were so bouncy.
I filled the trays for the dehydrator, then made 6 quarts of apple pie filling, and put them in the freezer. Very satisfying.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

More Fall

I pulled out the old window from storage. Something simple to add a little make do fun. I used acrylic paints, with little detailing,just to give the feeling of harvest. I'll add a hay bale or two and pumpkins. So I'm off to the pumpkin patch for supplies. We are having a birthday party tomorrow and I want the front porch to be a harvest welcome.

Monday, October 6, 2008

A Few Fall Things

The weather finally changed over the weekend. It went from the 80's to the 60's overnight. We are now experiencing our typical Northwest autumn. So up go a few autumn and Halloween decorations. Many of my decorations are years old. I painted these pumpkins over twenty years ago, when the children were young, and thought they were scary.
They went trick or treating with these quilted pumpkins.

Wooden bowls of small gourds and multi colored corn rest on tables.
Small ears of corn rest in this cast iron corn bread pan.

Fall leaves are scattered on table tops. The room glows with candlelight late evening, in its autumn colors.

Of course there are some fall wool mini quilts around.
The wool bird is standing on the pumpkin, resting for a moment, carrying the heavy acorn.
When fall comes, I still spend time cleaning up the garden, but most of my thoughts and time are for indoors. I tend to nest. Furniture is rearranged, quilts and throws are layered, for a warm, cozy feel and look. The scents of cinnamon, cloves, and apples waft through the house. It's time for baking bread and making soups. The quilting project, set aside for summer, is brought back out. Candles are lit in the evening. Home is experienced in a different way, comforting us, as the season changes. I see twirling leaves through the window and can't resist going out to walk and play in them. Letting the experience invigorate me, I go back inside, renewed, still smelling the crisp air, to continue nesting.