Saturday, October 31, 2015

Happy Halloween

Everything's ready ... just waiting for the little trick or treaters to arrive at the door!

Enjoy your Halloween evening!


psst! want to read a ghost story?

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Five on Friday

Joining up with Amy of Love Made My Home and her famous Five on Friday!!!

I've been spending every spare minute I have this week with sewing and knitting for a couple of swaps I'm involved in. Christmas is looming if we like it or not, but I do love creating gifts for Christmas! I think it makes the whole holiday that much more pleasant and "real". 

My five this week, however, is not about the things I've sewn and knit (since my partners would see them here and that would give away all the surprise!). It's probably the last post this year for my garden. Our weather has been up and down this autumn. High of 20C one day, the next day a high of 5C. Coats on ... coats off. Yesterday I actually wore mittens!! for my morning walk with Cody, and they were most welcome with the cold settling in again. With the uncertain weather, some flowers in my garden have started blooming again, while most of them are being killed off with progressively harsher frosts. So ...

... onto the five ...


My miniature yellow rose bush. I love this little flower, and it's so happy to bloom and bloom right from spring to fall. All I have to do is give it as much sunshine as possible. I've moved it a couple of times, and it suffered. This summer it has sat right up against the wall around my patio and it is still blooming. These photos were taken last weekend, but the flowers are still on the bush this morning. The blooms are so compact and perfect every time, and the little rosebuds are just as sweet :)


My lavender plants have started flowering again! I've been trying to get this small area of garden full of lavender to make a lavender hedge. It was looking pretty sad last year, but this year, the plants have really filled in. I have two types of lavender here, and was a bit annoyed at my mistake, but they both do well, so I'll probably just let them be. The lavender bloomed in early summer, and I thought that was it. But in the last month, new buds came out and this is what they looked like last weekend. It even attracted a late pollen gatherer :)


My burning bush is on fire!! right now. I love this bush and always intend to pick up a few more in the springtime, but never do! When I see the bush come into its own in the autumn however, I'm kicking myself for not having planted a whole row of these amazing bushes. The red is so intense and complete ... love it!


I have a few balloon flowers in my gardens, and love the unusual flower buds they produce. I don't see them like this in the gardening store anymore. The balloon flowers I find now have closed flowers that burst open as they mature. My balloon flowers stay closed right to the end (which I prefer).  In the autumn, the leaves turn to this beautiful mix of colours.



Mom's iris have finally been moved into my front yard. In August I scrounged around in the back garden and dug up every single corm I could find ... there didn't seem to be many. A lot of the corms were damaged by bugs, and the iris were barely surviving. In the last month, I've noticed the leaves are sprouting up all healthy again in their new home! It gives me great pleasure to see them surviving, and hopefully they will still be here in the spring. I have no idea which type of iris were saved. I'm sure I lost a few of Mom's favourites, but nothing to do about it now except wait patiently.

And that's my Five! I didn't think I'd get this post put together until late this afternoon, but was happy to find these photos and join in :)

Now off to visit Dad, and hopefully the rain will hold off so I can take him out for a spin around along the trail!

Thanks for stopping by!


Thursday, October 22, 2015

Leaf Prints Tutorial

I recently made up some cards for autumn to send out in my card exchange group. As I was making them, I thought the printing process would make a good topic for a crafting post!

This is such a simple craft. All you need are:
- acrylic paints
- a small piece of muslin cotton
- green leaves. I used maple leaves, but any kind of leaf will do. It works best if the leaf is still green and pliable. Don't use the brittle leaves that have already turned colour and fallen to the ground as they will crumble if you use them for printing.
- muslin cotton (or other white fabric, or you can print directly onto paper)
- paper towels (important!)

First cut the muslin cotton to a size to accommodate the size of leaf you are using. 
You can use the same leaf several times.

Have a work space set up and all ready as you have to work quickly ... acrylic paints dry fast. I use laminated place mats for my work surface. I picked one up at the thrift store for a dollar.

Paint the back of the leaf with the paints using a small sponge. You can use a wide soft paint brush instead of the sponge. I just find the sponge doesn't show the brush marks as much. Cover the back of the leaf well with an even coat, but don't have the paint too thick, or the details of the leaf will be lost.

Quickly turn the leaf paint side down onto the muslin cotton. 

Next place a piece of paper towel over the leaf and press down on paper towel with your fingers. Hold the leaf in place with one hand, and rub your fingers across the leaf's surface with your other. You want to wipe the leaf from the centre outwards in one direction only. Don't rub the surface back and forth as you will risk moving the leaf and ripping it. Work at this quickly as the paint dries fast and you want to have it absorb into the cotton before it dries.

The paper towel is key in this project. The paint bleeds out from underneath the leaf, but the paper towel immediately absorbs the extra paint and leaves you with a very crisp outline of the leaf on the cotton.

Paper towel laid over the leaf and ready for printing.
Now lift off the paper towel ...

... and carefully peel up the leaf ...

You should have a fairly clear print of the leaf showing the veins. You can use a few different colours on the leaf if you like. I used red, orange and yellow and didn't worry about how the paints mixed together on the leaf.

Once the paint is dry, you can use this print for cards or bunting, or whatever else you can think of. For the cards I made, I stitched the printed cotton directly onto a blank card with my sewing machine. You can print the leaves onto paper or cardstock as well using the same method. Just don't forget the paper towel! I also printed some maple keys the same way, and they turned out great too.



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Walk in the Woods

There was snow here on the weekend. Not a lot, just flying around really ... but it's just a blunt reminder that winter is not far away. Three weeks ago we were camping up north and people were swimming! The temperature was a hot 21C, and we still had the air-conditioning on when we got home. Now this. Seasons change so quickly here in Ontario.

Sunday I was bemoaning the fact that I hadn't been out in the beautiful fall weather much this year. On Sunday afternoon, I asked my husband to take a drive out in the country with me. We headed a little north and a little east to Kirkfield, where we had our lunch sitting beside the lake there. It was freezing!! We ended up sitting in the truck and admiring the view across the water.

Most of the cottages seem to be closed up now. No one was around except for one lone guy in a boat. Not sure if he was fishing or not, but he eventually pulled into shore at the picnic area where we were parked. He must have been chilled to the bone.

Yesterday I had an unexpected day to myself. I thought I would do housework ... ho hum ... but then I decided that since we had a good frost last night, I would now be able to take Cody pup out for a walk in the woods. The frost kills the pollen that he's allergic to. So happy dog hopped in the van with me and we headed up to a very nice conservation area in the north part of our town.

This creek reminds me of my parents' place where I spent many happy days walking along the banks with another dog, Emily.

The frost on Sunday night loosened all the leaves, and they were falling like snow all through the woods. So pretty. It was quite cold in the morning at only a couple of degrees above 0C. I wore my new pink & brown scarf, and it was a welcome warmth around my neck :)

I felt like I was walking with ghosts this morning. I used to bring my kids here with their friends a lot when they were all young. The path we used to hike along had many boardwalks over muddy areas where spring-fed creeks trickled down the hillside. The kids loved the boardwalks where they could hang over the edges and look into the tiny creeks. That path has now been closed, and the boardwalks all ripped up. A new path has been created up on the hill overlooking the old path. I could look down and still see some of the old pilings for the boardwalks, and also the old oil drum that confused my kids as to why it was in the middle of the woods, abandoned and rusted. I think I could hear my kids chattering down there too, and I remembered all those hikes and smiles and carefree days.

The colours were pretty good. Not a lot of red, but lots of golden yellow and orange. This old beech tree stump had some nice russet leaves from shoots that were trying hard to give this tree new life.

This is the new path, where there are lots of sugar maples towering over all the other trees. 

It was about 9:30 in the morning when I arrived at the trail, so the sun hadn't warmed things up yet. It was giving a beautiful soft lighting through the forest.

I took far too many photos, but sometimes you just can't help yourself!

There was this beautiful large oak tree spreading its limbs wide. You don't often see such nice mature oaks in this area. My parents used to have a hillside above the field planted with oaks. I wonder how big those tree are now. They sure take a long time to grow. This tree will look magnificent when the all the leaves finally turn.

Cody enjoyed his walk as much as I did. Two hours quickly passed us by before we had to leave.

Lots of leaves already on the ground, making a nice crunchy and colourful carpet.

Back down alongside the creek on another "unofficial" trail, the cedars take over 
and give the forest a mysterious air.

Doesn't this look like a fancy doorway into some magical tiny home? 
Enter if you dare ...

 Once I got back to this little pond, the walk was pretty much over.
("Thank goodness!" you're all saying)

Back to the van.
Back into town.

Today is rather grim looking outside. Still a nice day with no rain (yet). We had a massive thunderstorm last night with so much lightening! It went on and on and on for a couple of hours of light show and sharp, deep blasts to wake the dead. We haven't had many thunderstorms this summer, and having such a spectacular one in fall seems weird.

And on a final note ... GO JAYS GO!!
Our Toronto's baseball team is battling it out with Kansas City Royals again tonight,
after winning last nights exciting game!
Are you a baseball fan?

Thanks for stopping by!


.... oh, and Cody, as always :)

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