Friday, December 28, 2012

Christmas Buttons and a Fab Friday Find

Did everyone have a fabulous Christmas?  I've been quite spoiled, with lots and lots of gifts, all of which were fantastic and one being particularly spectacular.  If you haven't yet figured it out, it's the item showcased above.  How awesome?  Very. 

The killer gift from Nigel this year was an antique box set of buttons, buckle and hatpins, purchased through my favourite antique dealer, Frank - who found this through an estate sale and kept it especially for Nigel to purchase for me for Christmas.  Thanks to both of you! 

Frank's opinion was that the set was from the late 1800's, but I initially thought 1920's - my notion was based solely on the bright azure/turquoise of the enamel on the buckle.

Having studied it a little longer, I'm inclined to think it's Edwardian, as belts were very popular.  Remember the cinched waist of the time? 

The mother-of-pearl buttons are quite fine and delicate and come with their own "keepers", small rings to attach the buttons to clothes without having to sew them on.   At the time buttons would have been removed from a fine garment before it was laundered - these buttons, being small and removable were probably intended for a blouse.

The two hatpins are also mother-of-pearl.  The tops are attached to the pins in an articulated manner, allowing movement when the wearer turned her head.

The entire set is quite perfect and I feel very privileged to be its "keeper" for the next generation of button collectors.

Nigel wasn't the only person to gift me with buttons this season, my friend Betsy sent a parcel with much loveliness, including many celluloid buttons on tiny cards, this Glow Bubble Celluloid made me laugh:

the seller tagged it as a Glow Buble.  Funny.

And what of the :::Fab Friday Find::: mentioned in my post title?

Well, deary, deary!  I really didn't need another thing after receiving so many goodies at Christmas, but I was out and about today and stopped in at Things on Corydon Avenue and this necklace caught my eye:

I knew it was Victorian cut steel when I cast my eye upon it, and on flipping it over, could see that it was one half of a huge,old cloak clasp.  Someone had strung a sterling chain through it and called it a necklace.

It will take its place of honour in the button collection.

I was going to link to a Michael Buble video, but I didn't like any of them.  Someone needs to tell that man to sing about celluloid buttons.

Saturday, December 8, 2012


'Tis the season - I managed to miss Hallowe'en here in blogland, but I'll try to make up for it with more than one December post.  Ambitious words, I know.

The small tinsel tree has been set up on the upstairs landing.  I love this wee tree, it stands just over four feet tall and is bedecked with loads of vintage glass ornaments.  I think it's charming, however, if I remember correctly, Nigel described it as "looking like it belonged at a junk store".  He's almost as charming as the tree.  Perhaps he feels it's simply not good enough to be hanging out with his autographed Star Wars snaps.  Speaking of autographed snaps, we have a small stack of Star Trek ones I've yet to frame - the wall will eventually be quite crowded.

Back in the first week of November Nigel and I went to ComicCon and stood in line to get Patrick Stewart's autograph - he was very nice (chattier than William Shatner in a previous year).  Nigel also stood in line for Marina Sirtis and Billy Dee Williams, possibly also Nichelle Nichols (though I can't remember now, and the photos aren't on the wall yet).  Nigel tried to be charming to Marina Sirtis, telling her she "looked great", and also remarked that she was "aging much better than Jonathan Frakes".  Apparently the first line went over better than the second.

Off the needles in the recent past:

A pair of mittens in the Horatio and Oren pattern from Barbara Gregory in the Fall 2012 issue of Twist Collective.  The pattern is very sweet, with an option to make snowy owls (worked as a pale owl on a darker background, and with a rounded top), or as horned owls (dark owls on light, with tiny points worked off each side of the top).  How sweet are they?  I gifted them to Elly.

They even have tail feathers!  Adorable!  I neglected to make a note of which yarn I used, but I think it may have been Sublime Extra Fine Merino , and made in the adult small size.  It's not like me to not make a note of the yarn I've used, but it's really not been the best Autumn.

Also finished is the Slanted and Enchanted scarf from this post, back in June.  I didn't care for it for myself when I finished it, so gifted it to Yolande in the back garden.  Doesn't she look festive?

Lastly, off the needles (a fair ways back) is Wilhelmina Witch, from two posts ago.  After much sewing and wrapping and gluing, she was finished by the beginning of October and resides on a bench in the kitchen with Bill the Pirate and the Octopuss.

 The light wasn't the best when I took this picture, but her face is sweet and funny with a huge nose.

In my next post I'll show you all the new things on the needles.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Goodbye to Whimsy

 After a stressful month of family health issues, we passed through a difficult week-end, having to say goodbye to Elly's beloved Shih Tzu, Whimsy. 

Though tiny in stature, she made her presence felt.  She would easily tolerate hand-knit sweaters, fancy dress costumes and small children...

but almost never tolerated Sunday morning joggers passing the living-room window, interlopers in her home or Gus sitting on a bed next to her - she taught him that the cold, hard floor was good enough (a rule he only followed when she was near).  

She could be both sunshine and storm, snuggly and squirmy, often loving, always lovable.

 Goodbye, Whimsy-Doodle.  You'll be missed.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Things a Jellin'

It's that time of year again - the time when there's a crispness to the air and I can think straight again.  My whole life seems to melt into a puddle of laziness through the summer, but come autumn, things start jelling and work gets done.  Fittingly, I've made mint jelly and roasted garlic jelly, both with loveliness harvested from the garden.

The garlic jelly is a dreamy, pale amber colour - the mint jelly would have been too, but I added the tiniest hint of kelly green food colouring, just so I could tell them apart.  I have plans too, to make some mango chutney, that doesn't use anything from the garden though, so, no rush for that.

Off the needles recently, a neckwarmer in a sequined fuchsia wool/acrylic blend.  I'm not one for acrylics normally, but I saw this one lone ball of King Cole Galaxy in the bargain bin at Wolseley Wool, and I couldn't resist the sparkly twinkle.  I hope to get much wear out of it this autumn (still a shade too warm around here just yet).

More impressive, also off the needles this month is the Union Jack slipover.  I made the smallest size, and it's still plenty big on Ian, it hangs in my closet though - hee, hee.

I'm fairly pleased with the neckline.  I usually hurry through the last parts of a project and my finishing work can leave something to be desired, but I took my time with it, and it looks pretty good.

Recently on the needles is Wilhelmina Witch by Alan Dart.  I love his toy patterns, though I always fail to remember just how much work they are to assemble.  The knitting takes no time, in fact, all her pieces are finished, I just have to sew them up and embroider her features - I suppose at the rate I've been blogging she should be done well before I blog again.

And, never on my needles (or hook, in this case); I found an old crocheted tablecloth while out trolling the thrift sales/estate sales (can't quite recall where I found this).  It's not especially large and it had an old stain - something greasy, I suspect - and a bit of unravelling, but I couldn't resist giving it a home.  I darned the tattered bits with white cotton thread and thought I'd pop it in a dye bath to give it a bit of life.

I chose gunmetal dye, thinking it would turn a lovely steely grey colour.  No such luck.

It went a dusty chambray blue.  Hmmm....not what I wanted.  So I re-dyed in a jet black dye bath.

Success!  Gunmetal!  It's going to look fab on the table nearer Hallowe'en!

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Ubiquitous Garden Shots and Some Knitting

Through the magic of blogging I'm going to make my garden appear lush and successful. 

Why, look at the colour on those hollyhocks!

And all the new growth on the bay laurel!

What sweet blooms on that scented geranium!

Oooo... what's that?   Why it's a new variety of black-purple tomato called Indigo Rose - isn't it something?!


What's the secret to growing such a fab looking garden?   Why, it's nothing more than getting the camera really, really close so you can't tell how few hollyhocks actually sprang from the earth, or how shamefully tiny that bay laurel is after three years of tending.  Pretty clever, yes?

The knitting has been growing equally fitfully.  Off the needles a while back was Telephone (that's a ravelry link), by Kelley Deal.  This is a very straightforward knit, just a long rectangle in reverse stocking stitch, with a few garter stitch rows in the middle where you fold it in half to sew together.  Then finished with a thrifted, old school telephone cord (hence the name!) as a strap.  Not being a big fan of reverse stocking stitch, I opted to fold it in half "inside out", basically making it a plain stocking stitch pouch, with a garter stitch base.

Consequently, the bottom corners of the bag flipped out, reminiscent of Marlo Thomas in "That Girl".  It's definitely got a vintage vibe to it, though I'm not sure if a bouncy, swingy telephone cord is the most flattering accessory for a saggy, baggy middle-ager like myself.  However, it's the perfect sized bag to hold a small knitting project like a pair of socks or gloves, so it may get some use yet, and I'm getting a small thrill from being the first person to record working this project on the ravelry page!

Still on the needles, is Lennon by Martin Storey (that's another ravelry link).  This is a men's v-neck slipover knit in fingering weight yarn in a union jack pattern in intarsia.  Quite a fitting project, what with the Diamond Jubilee and the London Olympics - though I won't finish it before the end of the games.

(I'm adding a link to the definition of intarsia, because blogger doesn't even believe it's a real word - it also doesn't like the word "slipover".  Honestly!) 

I'm making this in the smallest size, and though I have every intention of wearing it myself, I'd secretly love for Nigel to tell me his wardrobe is too conservative and that he longs for something bold and kooky to liven up the blandness of the office.  I wonder if he will?

Perhaps I could also make him a belt with this fabulously huge bakelite belt buckle recently purchased through Vintage in the Village

He could work on a whole new look!

***I just need to add that blogger also doesn't like the word "bakelite".  Who are these people?!***

Tuesday, June 26, 2012


The first strawberry didn't survive to the end of yesterday - I suspect a squirrel.

Monday, June 25, 2012


The first strawberry has turned a lovely shade of red.  It's not quite ready yet, but it will be soon.  The next two days are suppose to be fairly hot and sunny, which should do the trick nicely.

I'll let you know if I manage to harvest this wee lovely before the squirrels do.

Newly discovered (for me), yesterday, is the site Map My Walk.  It lets you plan a walk or bike ride in your local area (assuming your area has been added to goggle maps), and calculates how far you will (or have) traveled.  Clever.  Using this site I was able to see that when I walk Gus, I normally only travel 0.8 miles - shameful - no wonder I'm so fat!  I increased our walk today to a shade over two miles.  Less shameful.  The site also lets you integrate a blackberry, android, or iPhone to allow you to keep track of miles logged, as well as an option to log in through facebook so you can brag to your friends about how far you walked on a given day - I've opted to just blog about it.

Prediction:  Nigel will comment saying, either, "Bah - I walk Gus farther than that!", or "I've planned a new route", because he won't stand for my walks with Gus to be further than his.

I listened to this album while I walked:


Monday, June 18, 2012

Good Mud

Check out my new Cube after puddle jumping.  Doesn't he make the most adorable mud splatter patterns?    Too cute!

The late spring garden is well into blooming.  This lavender is a very large Spanish Lavender purchased at least four or five years ago at Sage Garden Herbs.  It's not perennial to our region, but Sage Garden offers an overwintering at the greenhouse for a small fee (I've been sending a rosemary there too). 

When I sent the plants in last autumn, I was sure the lavender had met it's end and it wasn't going to survive, but it's come back better than ever this year.  The blooms on this type of lavender are beautiful, it's also called "butterfly lavender" because it looks like pink butterflies are resting on the top of each bloom.  Here's a link of images to enjoy.

The peonies are also happy (though nearing the end of their bloom cycle).

A view of the side garden - click on the photo to open it and you'll see Gus on the far left, inspecting...

New this year, a set of sun and moon solar lights from Canadian Tire.  I admired them for a few weeks, waiting patiently for them to go on sale, which they did.  Hooray for me!

I've also been admiring these solar firefly lights, also at Canadian Tire.  They may not look like much in that photo, but they're awfully sweet in person.  I'm trying to be patient and wait for those to go on sale too. You see Nigel, I'm not as impulsive a shopper as I sometimes appear.

New to the garden this year, are a few ever-bearing strawberry plants, which are showing great promise.  I planted them in one of these, seeing as strawberries can sometimes get a tad aggressive.

Here's some more sweetness...

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

New, New, New

Check out what's new in my life. 

That's right, my brand new Cube.  Isn't it adorable?

I ordered it at the beginning of May, and it finally arrived a week and a half ago - I would have shown it off earlier, but it was too, too rainy.

I special ordered the fancy custom grille option for the front - checkers!  And I love that instead of a trunk it has a cupboard.  How adorable is that?

Absolutely adorable.  I'm enjoying my new toy very much, I haven't named him yet, but names like Quebert have been tossed around, as well as Herman (as in Munster - because of the shape of his brow).  I'm open to suggestions.

On, off and around the needles of late:

a scarf called Slanted and Enchanted, named for an album by Pavement, one of Nigel's favourite bands (not one of mine - but I do allow Nigel to inspire me from time to time).  I chose leftover bits of reds and oranges, with a dash of black and white thrown in - like the album cover.

I started this one back at the beginning of May, but the weather turned very (very, very) warm shortly afterwards and the colours looked too hot to handle, so it's been left to languish.

To remedy this I started a shawlette called Wingspan (that's a Ravelry link).  It's quite a clever pattern, working in short rows, eight wedges are made in a semi-circular fashion.  The yarn is Jawoll Magic 6-ply, a superwash sport weight sock yarn.  It took almost exactly one skein, I only had two or three meters left over. 

I loved the yarn when I saw it in the shop, it reminded me of something from my childhood - possibly colours of ice creams, or sweeties - I'm not sure, but it was terribly appealing when I first saw it.
Oddly, after finishing the piece, I decided it was truly hideous - too many colours combined with too many wedge points.  This yarn may need a different destiny at some time in the future.

My most recent project started was the Beekeeper's Quilt.  This is an utterly addictive pattern - just tiny little knitted "hexi-puffs" - that are later (much later) tufted together.

This projected has taken off in the Ravelry world, there are more than 3800 knitters (just through Ravelry) that are currently working on this pattern, and another nearly 5000 that have it in their "queue".  So far, I've been using up scraps of yarn in pinks and greens and have made about 40 or so.  I estimate that to make a bed sized quilt I'm going to need between 400 and 500.  Does that sound like a lot?