Friday, November 29, 2013

And The Winner Is .... drum roll please!

Such a great response to my give-away!  Thank you everyone for entering your name.  It really was nice to see all these familiar names go into the hat ... and wonderful to have some new followers ... Welcome!!

My son reached into the hat of names and drew out ...

Congratulations Linda!!
Thanks to everyone for participating.  It was quite fun to see all my friends' names ... new & old ... go into the hat.  I think most of you already know Linda of Linda's Crafty Corner, but if you haven't met up with her, you must pop round her place for a visit ... she's a lovely fun lady sharing many knitting & crocheted creations, and she contributes so much to various worthwhile charities. 
I'm so sorry to the rest of you who were part of this draw, but cheer up! as I'll be having another giveaway in the future since I enjoyed this so much ;)  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend ... ooo! and the sun just peeked out for us this icy cold day!
Thanks for Stopping by!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Just a Reminder!

Just a reminder to anyone who wants to join in my draw for the table runner.  Deadline is tonight at midnight to leave a comment that you want to enter here.
Wendy x

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Scarf & Wreath

Here's a quick update on a couple of things.  I reworked my dad's pinecone wreath, and it now looks like this:

It's pretty much identical to what I gave him last year, but I don't want to do a lot to it.  I think the pinecones really make this wreath, and to add a lot of fake greenery and berries just wasn't working.  I do like the red berries on it though ... adds some bright colour.
I was having trouble making the bow, so I googled how to make bows and found a great tutorial here.  Very simple, clear instructions.  I was then able to put the bow together quickly using the suggested wired-edged ribbon. 
I think my dad will like it!
In the knitting, I've only gotten this far with my daughter's scarf:
I'm using a scroll stitch pattern from my "Stitch Library" book, and just repeating the pattern three times across the scarf.  I stretched it out a bit so you can see the lacey scroll pattern ... doesn't it look like waves?  I love the shades of blue in this pure wool.  I have to use up the entire ball of yarn to make this into an infinity scarf ... so you can see I have a way to go!
That's it for today.  I have lots of handmade projects piling up before Christmas.  Although I often realize I leave everything too late, I just never feel motivated to make Christmas gifts until closer to Christmas.  For me, working under pressure really gets my ideas flowing ;)  How about you?
Thanks for stopping by again today!


This Morning's Snow

For once the weather man was right.  We awoke to this pretty sight this morning ...

Heavy, wet snow.

At least there's only mere centimeters ... unless it gets colder, it'll be gone by this afternoon.  Won't be using the new snowblower yet!

I love that birch tree in the far background (centre).  It always looks wonderful whether it's spring, summer, fall or winter.  Almost like a painting :)
I'll be posting later about my latest knitting, but thought I'd share this quickly first thing.
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Pinecone Wreath for Christmas

I was out to visit my dad on the weekend and he was in a very sweet and gentle frame of mind.  With his Alzheimer's, you can never be sure of how your visit will go.  After a very shaky episode last weekend, this was a happy relief.  
Dad's knees are getting weaker and weaker, so now it's all he can manage to navigate the hallways in his residence and he tries to walk from the front door and around the building to the backdoor whenever he goes down for his meals in the dining room.  He's still balking at using a walker ("They're for old people!"), but with a couple of canes, he's at least got a bit of steadiness. 
On Saturday he asked me if I'd like to walk along the corridors to see the lovely wreaths that were on the other residents' doors.  How could I refuse!  He took me along his favourite 3rd floor, and we admired all the wreaths.  Really, these were spectacular, and it quite lifted my spirits to see the enthusiasm the residents have put into decorating their "front" doors :)  I find the home a bit depressing most days, but I know it's partially due to my dad being lonely for his family all around him (he's not a great one to mingle with the others either, which doesn't help his plight). 

When we got back to Dad's room I decided to take his own wreath and update it for Christmas (again).  I made him a wreath last year from pinecones, and blogged about it here

Dad's Christmas Pinecone Wreath
When it came time to take the Christmas decorations down last year, Dad wouldn't let me take the wreath down ... "No!!  I like it!! Leave it there!!"  But I didn't want him to look silly with a Christmas wreath on his door in the springtime, so I brought back some springtime flowers and replaced the berries & bow with the flowers. 
The Springtime Wreath
It's stood up fairly well, but after a year, it's starting to look a little shabby.  I brought the whole thing home on Saturday with a promise that I'll return it to him freshened up for Christmas.  I had a little chuckle when he came outside with me when I was leaving and showed me how he had planted some of the extra (silk) flowers in the garden outside his window.  He doesn't understand that they're fake, and he's convinced they're doing incredibly well now that they're outside ... I didn't have the heart to pull them out of the ground because he's most likely going to check on them every day when he goes 'round for his walk ;)
This morning I gathered a few more pinecones along my walk and brought them home to fill the empty spaces of the wreath.  I baked them in the oven to kill any bugs (210F for 25 minutes), and it just smells like a deep piney woods in my house right now.  I should collect some pinecones just to throw in the oven whenever it's warming up, because it really does smell wonderful!  I won't be able to put the Christmas greenery etc. on until I slip down to the store this evening for some supplies.  I'll show it all in the next day or two.
If you haven't done so already, take a look at my Giveaway Post ... I'd hate for you to miss out on a chance to win ;)   
The Giveaway Table Runner
Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, November 25, 2013

The Surprise Revealed!

I'm not one to gush.  But lately it's been on my mind that I would like to say thank you to all of you very kind readers of this blog.  I do enjoy knitting, sewing and gardening, and it's been an immense pleasure to be able to share what I've created with people who really appreciate these things.  I'm honoured to have such gifted and talented people as my friends.  Your comments have always been kind and helpful, and just having someone say "have a great day" brightens my day. 
I've now been writing in this blog for over a year.  I told my husband recently that I had over 80 followers, and he was stunned!  I know it's not a lot in comparison to what most of you have, but for me to have 80 people who would care to stop by here and find my little ramblings worth a repeat visit ... I find that incredible.  To be able to have little conversations with all of you too has been such fun.  I love it!! 
And now I want to celebrate all of this.  "Perfect" opportunities have slipped away.  My one year blogging anniversary ... poof! gone by.  My birthday ... poof!  My 25th wedding anniversary ... poof!  Reaching a nice even number (80) ... poof!  So I decided that now that the Christmas season is very quickly approaching, and in the spirit of giving and giving thanks, this seems the best opportunity to celebrate.  And what better way to celebrate than an actual tangible handmade-by-me gift to a lucky follower.  I wanted to make something easy to mail anywhere, and decided to make a Christmas table runner.  It's a generous size, measuring 14" x 43". 
Now before you realize it, I'm going to tell you (it's not quite finished ... shhhh ...).  I know, I know ... awful of me to offer an unfinished gift ... but trust me, it will be finished this week ... it just needs the backing and a bit of quilting.  Time was just against me this entire weekend, but I really wanted to get this posted on my blog to give all of you a chance to enter the draw, and still leave enough time to ship it out. 
 This give-away is open worldwide. 
If you would like a chance to win this table runner, all you need to do is this:
1.  Be a follower of my blog, because it's you the steady followers, readers & commenters that I want to thank.
2.  Leave a comment in this post that you'd like your name entered in the draw.
3.  I'll leave this draw open until midnight Thursday, November 28, 2013.
4.  On the morning of Friday, November 29, I'll toss all the names in a hat, and choose the lucky winner and notify you if you won.  Please make sure there's some way I can contact you.

Thank you all again for being a part of this blogging adventure.  Best of luck to each of you!


Friday, November 22, 2013

Dr. Who!

Actor David Tennant is to portray the Time Lord in a film version of the science-fiction series Doctor Who, according to reports.
I used to suffer through the original series of Dr. Who on television with my brother when we were kids.  I thought it so lame!  But now I just love the newer series, and my husband, son and I all sit down to watch the episodes on DVD ... such great entertainment ... almost as good as "Firefly" ;)
Here's to 50 years!
And as a joke, my son put this on my screen saver tonight trying to scare me ... I'll get him back somehow using that stone gargoyle from his pond!!  Just you wait!!  >:[
He better not blink!
Don't Blink!!!!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Knitted Scarves

First off I would like to thank everyone for their input on my last post about how you deal with comments received on your blog.  It has all been most helpful, and I'll be altering how I deal with comments a bit in the future!  If only we had one of these handy volumes to guide us through these little grey areas of virtual etiquette!

Dear Emily Post and her 73 published editions of this "Blue Book of Social Usage".

Unfortunately, this edition printed in 1945 doesn't cover blogs.  I started reading through little bits of this book this morning, and became thoroughly engrossed in it all.
Anyway ... all that will be dealt with in time.  Today I want to show you my finished scarf for my sister!  I wrote about it in this post, and this week I was thankfully able to get the thing off my needles (just needs ends woven in and blocking).
The scarf measures about 7" wide and 65" long (just shy of the 68" suggested in the pattern).

The pattern was very easy, but I just found it so monotonous knitting the zig zags for some reason.  Maybe because I stuck with the knitting for longer periods of time than I normally spend sitting down.

I wanted to finish it before other Christmas projects, so I pushed through to the end, and finally just sat down and spent all of Sunday working on it and finished it up.  I'm a fairly slow knitter, and this took me two weeks to finish.  And there's the tiny ball of leftover yarn.  I couldn't decide whether to knit through one more pattern repeat or just finish it off.  Not knowing exactly how far that tiny ball would take me, I decided to play it safe and bind off ... I'd had enough of knitting this anyway ;)

I really like the bamboo yarn, but had a few too many spots where the yarn had "torn" and I had to break it off and start a new row.  Luckily, I only had to rip out maybe half a row at the most when one of these annoying tears suddenly appeared.  So now it's ready to deliver to my sister, who conveniently has a birthday next week.  Although we don't normally exchange gifts, perhaps this one time she'll overlook that and be surprised that I actually finished it!

Whenever we go to sewing/knitting shows together we make a pact that we can't buy anything new unless we've got all our WIPs finished!  It works for me. 
And now I've started on the Christmas stuff.  I want to make my daughter an infinity scarf, and although the yarn I purchased for that came with a pattern for one, I wanted to make up my own pattern.  I started with a "scroll stitch" which looks really nice with this blue yarn.  The only problem is that after one repeat of the pattern, I noticed the scarf had become "scalloped" along the bottom edge. 
I had knit only a couple of start-off rows because I want to sew the two ends together when it's finished.  But I think the scalloped edge will make it difficult to do this neatly.  Does anyone have experience with this sort of problem?  I don't want to knit too many plain rows at the beginning and end because I don't want there to be an obvious join when it's sewn together.  If I can't figure anything out, I'm going to have to work out some other way of doing this.  The scroll pattern was perfect for this yarn too, as the colours and the pattern together make it look like waves (difficult to see in the photo on this small knitted bit). 
I must tell you too that when I went back to the dollar store to pick up two more knitting boxes, I found these handy plastic clipboards that fit right inside the box. 
Perfect for me who likes to tick off finished knitted rows on a piece of paper.  I can also clip the pattern to the board as well and have the whole little package nestled in the box for knitting times.
Just another little organizational thing that's pretty too ;)

And now I'll leave you with a photo of the fish tank all set up with fish, who have transferred to life indoors very smoothly.  Cody seems to like this spot too!  One feature we hadn't planned on was that we can see the shadows of the fish swimming by on the front door (you can sort of see it in this photo).  An odd little surprise ;)
That pretty fish in the centre with the long flowing tail fins is one of two shebunkins (the other one is facing away on the far left).  Shebunkins are such pretty fish and every time we bring them indoors we're amazed at how much they've grown!  The rest of them are goldfish.
Well, that's me all caught up for now!  I have a rare day off today, and will be working on my surprise that I hope to share with you in a few days.  I just hope the hydro crew working around the corner at one of those big electrical boxes keep the power running today (unlike yesterday ... on!  off!  on!  off!).  I saw them there again when I came home from walking above pooch, and immediately plugged in the kettle for tea ... just in case!
Thanks for stopping by everyone!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

A Question on Blog Comments

I've been blogging for over a year now, and am really happy to have this space to call my own.  I enjoy writing the posts, meeting fellow bloggers and most of all I enjoy the interaction through the comments!
With respect to comments, I've been wondering how most of you deal with comments published to your posts.  Often I'll leave a comment on a fellow blogger's post, but the blogger doesn't reply to mine or any other comments left on the post.  At first I was a bit miffed and thought all the comments were being ignored on that blog.  But as I became more familiar with blogging, I came to realize that perhaps bloggers were replying to comments directly through their emails.
So my question to you all is do you normally reply to all comments?  And do you reply right on your blog post, or do you reply through your email?  Do you like to read other peoples' comments and the replies to them? 
I'm a "no reply" blogger.  Since I share my email address with my husband, I don't want to clog up our joint email with my September Violets emails. 
I'm just curious because what I receive back in response to my questions may change how I answer comments in the future.  I'm planning on setting up a separate "September Violets" email to attach to my blog, and hope to get that arranged very shortly.  At the moment I reply to all comments directly in the comments section of each post. 

Thanks for your input everyone, and I hope you're all having a great week :)
I have a surprise coming up very soon, and also a finished scarf to show you!
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Knitting Vessels

I recently posted about my knitting progress with a scarf for my sister, and Gaia (who has some extraordinary embroidery shown on her blog) commented on my little pottery bowl that held my knitting.  That got me thinking about the different knitting "vessels" I use to tote my knitting around.
I used to sew quite a lot, and over the years I got my sewing area into a very nice set up with a large table, storage cabinet and some decorative tins for storing small notions.  But then I got away from sewing as I tried my hand at knitting. 
Knitting is such a portable craft (unlike sewing, unless you've got some hand work to do), but I found as a beginning knitter the ball of yarn sitting beside me on a chair would bounce around as I knit and end up on the floor ... most annoying!  So I started searching out different vessels to hold my knitting supplies as I moved from room to room and out of doors with my knitting in tow.  Do you do this?  Or do you have a knitting "nook" with a special chair and that is the sacred knitting spot.
I started out by getting my knitting "station", and picked up this tiny table at the thrift store last summer. 

It's a great size, quite light-weight, and it has a handy shelf below.  I believe it's an Ikea end table (there were two at the store, but the other one was damaged).  It's perfect to use as my knitting station.  I can put my laptop (always looking for knitting tips on the web) or a basket of yarn on the bottom shelf, and have my work-in-progress on the top with a cup of tea :)
Next I started searching for a vessel to hold my yarn as I worked.  I started out with various pottery bowls and a large wooden bowl to put my yarn in as I was knitting.  The bowls (being round-sided), just allowed the ball of yarn to roll right out of the bowl, and before I knew it, I'd be knitting with yarn on the floor again ... no good when you have a furry Australian Shepherd at your feet ... I know some people actually knit using dog fur, but I don't like to see stray bits in my knitting ;)   But I saw this nice little straight-sided bowl in the thrift store, and find it's really good for a small ball of yarn, and the straight sides keep the yarn from bouncing out of the bowl!

This little tin planter is another thrift store find.
I don't believe it was ever used for plants, as there are no scratches in it, and no rusty bits either.  This tin is what I use outside on the patio, or when we're camping (or as a passenger in the truck).  It can be dropped and it won't break, and it's a perfect size.  I always worry about glass and pottery breaking on our patio, since we often step out there in our bare feet in the summer.  Of course, all of my fears were realized one day this summer when our entire glass-topped patio table was lifted in a high wind and crashed down and broke into a million pieces on the patio!  Poor Cody must've thought the world was ending when I found him cowering under shrubs in the garden. 
Now these cute little boxes I picked up at the dollar store.
They're only paper-covered cardboard, but they are so handy for a small knitting project! I love the flowery paper on the interior ;)  I picked up these two, but plan on getting a couple more.  I think they'll look so cute all lined up in a row with my projects in full view and waiting to be worked up!  They come in various colours too, so I'm going to look for some in blue next.  These are great because my long knitting needles don't fall out when the knitting is having a rest ;)
How about you?  Do you have special boxes & totes for carting your knitting or hand-work around your house?
Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Ginger Tea Party

Good morning everyone!  It's turned quite cold here (-3C), and with high winds and snow flurries dancing outside my window, I thought it made the perfect setting for some baking.  Winter baking!

Years ago, shortly after I was married, I picked up this magazine to try some new Christmas cookies.

1990 Better Homes & Gardens Christmas Cookies
My mother always made her usual standbys for Christmas ... shortbreads, cherry snowballs, candy cane cookies & nutmeg logs ... and as much as I loved those cookies, I wanted to start some of my own traditions.  This magazine was the perfect thing.  Cookies that were quick to make (I hate fussy baking), quite traditional, and everyone loves them.  One of my favourites are the Big Ginger Cookies, a recipe from Winnifred Jardine.  I've been making these cookies for almost 25 years now, and they're part of our Christmas tradition.

The combination of ginger and molasses spells Christmas to me.  I love gingerbread cookies too, and have a great recipe for them that I will share another day.  But today I'd like to share these delicious crinkly, sugary topped ginger cookies.

If you'd like to give them a try, they're very simple, require no special ingredients (apart from the molasses & spices), and fill your house with a delicious aroma!


2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp ground ginger
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground cloves
3/4 cup butter (or margarine or shortening)
1 cup sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup molasses
2 tbsp. sugar

Combine flour, ginger, soda, cinnamon, cloves and set aside.

In a large mixing bowl, beat butter with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds to soften.  Gradually add the 1 cup sugar; beat till fluffy.  Add egg and molasses; beat well. Stir dry ingredients into beaten mixture.
Shape into 1 1/2-inch balls (1 heaping tablespoon dough each).  Roll in 2 tablespoons sugar; place about 2 1/2 inches apart on ungreased cookie sheet.  Bake in a 350F oven for about 10 minutes or till light brown and still puffed.  Do not overbake.  Let stand 2 minutes; transfer to wire rack.  Cool.  Makes 24

I often package these up for gifts in some of those nice little gift bags with front windows, and they get rave reviews.  Today they're just going into my beehive cookie jar.
Two dozen cookies fit perfectly!
Please help yourself!
Thanks for stopping by!
Linking up with Sarah at ...

A good honest cookie ;)

Monday, November 11, 2013

Friday, November 08, 2013

Just Add Water ... A Reveal!

With a lot of effort and time, my husband and I were finally able to get the niche at the top of our stairs ready for the fishtank.  I got the railings painted at the top of the stairs (railings going down the stairs will wait until next week!).  So now a few reveal photos!  This is the "before" photo ... I had just finished the sanding here:

And this is the railing all painted up!
My husband made a very nice cherry cabinet for the fish tank to sit on, and I love how he made a matching detail on the side of the fish cabinet with what he did on the bookshelf he made some years ago (which is right beside it):
The cabinet & tank were brought up from the basement last night, and the tank is now full of water and will run for the next couple of days before we can put the fish in.
The whole assembly is quite tall ... and hides my lovely painted railings :[  I put the black basket on the shelf for those ugly fishy necessities (fish food, net, etc), but think I'll get a couple of  wicker baskets instead (Ikea has a nice selection).
A nice comparison of what the railings used to look like & their improvement!
This is the view as you come in the front door.  I don't particularly like that black filter hanging off the back like that, but nothing can be done there.  I've always wanted to make a small wall hanging to hang off this banister so that it blocked the view straight into my kitchen.  The fish tank blocks the view very well now.  Still, it hasn't made me change my mind about the wall hanging ... maybe this winter I can work on that.  Can you see that tiny glimpse of yellow through that doorway on the kitchen walls?  Next project :\
And just because I'd like to brag about my husband's craftsmanship a bit more, here is the beautiful low bookshelf he made several years ago:
All cherry.  The best thing about cherry is that it darkens with age.  Our grandfather clock is also cherry so these three pieces will all darken away as the years roll by.  This is a good example of the furniture clutter in my house ... tucked wherever we find room for it! 
 I couldn't give up the green brocade chair from my mom's house.  As kids we used to call it the "Queen's Chair".  I have this photo of my grandmother sitting in it too.  The fabric was different then ... a beige brocade, but you can't really see that from this old scanned slide.
Anyway ... back to the present ... we just need to add the fish to the tank, and it's getting cold again out there and was even snowing a bit this morning!  The fish are waiting patiently out there under the leaves & debris falling all over their pond.
One more day little guys ... hang in there!
 Thanks for stopping by!  I hope you all have a great weekend.  My daughter is coming home and we're going on our annual mother-daughter trip to the Royal Winter Fair Horse Show tomorrow!!  Ball gowns are optional :)  seriously.
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