Sunday, October 30, 2011



This picture actually makes me smile. I took it this September in the Piazza della Signoria in Florence.

Timely, that a black pigeon should decide to use it as a perch just then.

 I began to imagine this huge, ferocious looking stone lion, standing sentry at the end of my long lane tomorrow night, if I was a young child.
Our lane is quite long and narrow, climbing up the Escarpment, lined by large oaks and very dark, black dark at night, with nary a glimmer of light.

Imagine it looming over you when you arrived at the top, with a black crow sitting on it's head!

Funny or frightening?

A different take on spooky.

Happy Halloween!
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Friday, October 28, 2011


It appears I've been dreaming in the same colours lately.

Ecru, shades of tea- stained cream, touches of black and gold, as seen in the vintage vanity tray on my dresser.

Hunting for vintage fabric for my winter project, I stumbled upon this gorgeous turn of the century outfit at Granny's Boot, one of the best sources for antiques in our area. Madge, the owner is one of a kind...energetic, charismatic and generous.  When she saw the look on my face, she gifted me this exquisite little treasue.

Look at the silk ruching and beautiful, perfectly stained fabric flower, with a black bonnet pin attached.

...... small, hand made silk rosettes.....

.....and gorgeous, silk lining, which is virtually unavailable today.

......more lovely details to savour in the waist length jacket....

I already have something in mind for the lining, perhaps a pin cushion, in the shape of a pear...

sitting on a tarnished silver candlestick base????

I started this needle case early this spring...

The design is a Jacobian inspired flower.  I used silk seam binding for the stems and other little interesting bits I found in my stash, lace, buttons, and old eyelet stained with tea.

The two sides, inner and outer, before they were assemled.

I stitched like a crazy woman, till I finished it, I was so in love with the colour palette!

I soaked and scrunched and pressed the black satin ribbon with my steam iron, so it would look old and shabby.
You can see the beautiful Arte Pura tag, exquisite in itself, which I received after I made a purchase. This was a result of my reading the Trouvais blog, a treasure trove of inspiration and ideas.
Which lead me to Beadboard Upcountry.
Don't you just love how blogging finds you and you find others!

The little touches of black add interest.

The finished needle case, harking back to what I have planned for winter work.

I took this photo in la Pharmacia Santa Maria Novella, Florence. The famous 
apothecary shop is full of inspiration for me.  I will do a later post on it.

More of what I am using these days to fuel my inspiration and keep my hands occupied for the months ahead.

Today the sun is shining and I'm heading back into the garden to save some ferns before the frost.
Have a wonderful weekend.
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Monday, October 24, 2011

Winter white.

It seems that with the onset of cool weather and that I can no longer putter and poke in the garden, my thoughts turn to fabric and thread, the garden's answer to puttering indoors.

 This means unearthing all the stashes of remnants and textiles which caught my eye at some time or another. There are bits of lace, trim, buttons and bobs which leave me wanting to sew.

 I feel honoured and privileged to have been invited to participate in a sewing circle this winter with a group of women who truly create magic with their hands!
 A little nervous in such elite company, I am carefully playing with some ideas for an all white or cream quilt.
 I love the French boutis, simple, just a few fabrics used and all over quilting which give them their signature look.
 I especially like Kaari Meng from the French General's quilt kits. Hoping to replicate something along those lines here.

These are the colour ways that are coming to mind.

Monogrammed linen wine bottle bags in ecru which were gifted to me with my initials, perhaps at each corner of the quilt??

Fine cream coloured muslin imprinted with French motifs will comprise some of the design.

....and of course an unusual black and white script fabric in Italian.

Beautiful black and white toile and vintage flax towels which I have begun to satin stitch a design on.

This is a close up of the fringe on the towels. They are exquisite and it took every ounce of my being to cut them! I found twelve in perfect condition.

A bee embroidered towel purchased in Italy which I hope to incorporate in my design.

The flax towels have such a beautiful array of designs woven right into the fabric. After working a back stitch around this ribbon design, I decided to leave it, and just let the beauty of the fabric itself take center stage.

Here you can see the beautiful jacquard like pattern in one of the towels. These will be used for the dominant "blocks" of the quilt, although I don't want it to appear as patchwork.

Since this design is of my own making I have my work cut out for me. No pun intended.

Here is another closer look at the pulled thread work of another of the towels.

I think the combination of textures will work well with an all cream monochromatic colour scheme...with touches of black.

More linen lovelies found.

...and what started it all, two curtain panels of early 1900's vintage, fine gauze and appliqued work, found at the bottom of a basket with other treasures saved from my shop, Acorn Lane.
Winter work has just begun. 

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Sunday, October 23, 2011

A crispness in the air.

Is is inevitable.  The air is getting colder and even though the sun was shining today, you can feel the change in seasons.

I got out my Nespresso frother and made myself a hot and spicy chai latte, added a little treat of
pistachio, cranberry and white chocolate biscotti of my sister Micki's and I was ready to settle in.

Now on to winter pursuits....

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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Collections....obsessions, or just things.

Growing up we had very little in the way of "decor" as we know it today.  My Mom kept our home spotlessly clean and the tantalizing smells of her delicious cooking greeted you when you entered the door.
On her kitchen counter she had a set of stainless steel canisters for her sugar and flour and on our kitchen table, a soup tureen which was never used. We had everything we needed in the way of necessity and comfort, but there were no "things" for the sheer sake of having them or for their beauty.

It is no wonder today, that after so many years of having my own home and being a wife and mother, I am sometimes obsessed with finding and filling my space with things that are beautiful and
meaningful to me. 

Over the course of thirty some years, this has translated into many things.
My obsession with pearl handled sterling flatware....

blue and white china..... and any colour transferware....

....anything with gold gilt.....

.....acorns.....the symbol of rebirth and renewal..... or pink transferware sourcing, are my serious afflictions...


like this wonderful platter which I use only at Christmas and Thanksgiving.
It is Woods, Burslem, English, which I acquired about twenty years ago with twelve matching plates.


white ironstone pitchers, green majolica and more silver.


...and then there are linens and more silver....


and china roses, when I can't get them outdoors.....

...hand painted demitasse cups....and there are a few more things....

Within the next few months we will begin a major renovation to our forty something year old house.  Mr. M. and I have deliberated for some time now about down sizing or staying put.  It appears we can't leave this old place with the garden that needs tending, and the fire flies in June and the sound of the water rushing from Ball's Falls down the way in the spring.  It is the fall of our lives and that of this old house, but we will have to renew and rebuild one more time. What will become of all the things I have collected and cherished this time around?
We shall see.

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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

A Flame Left Burning.

The Cattedrale di Sienna,Duomo, is perhaps the most awe inspiring, magnificent church compared to the Vatican in Rome.  Actually it was built in the early 16th century to rival the Vatican by the wealthy bankers who resided in Sienna, the seat of the first bank of Italy.
It was never completed because the Black Death swept Europe and eradicated most of the population.
I visited Siena, which is only one hour by train, from Florence.
I was totally captivated by what I saw.

It was renamed La Chiesa di Santa Maria del' Assunta.

It is magnificent in every detail, inside and out.

.....lovely pale pink in its perfection.

The black and white striped, marble columns, striking in their simplicity and unexpected stature, in stark contrast to the ornate gold and ormulu interiors.

......the magnificent cupola.....

......every where awe inspiring and jaw dropping beauty, evoking feelings of mystery and incredible wonder!

....a crypt...

and the magnificent organ.

Beautiful putti, everywhere.

...every detail for the eye to linger and record.


Our Lady guarded by two gold archangels.

These beautiful and moving words were found by me as I lit my offeratory candle upon leaving.

Loosely translated they say,

" I do not know how to pray, I do not know what to say,
I do not have much time,
then, this light that I offer,
is a piece of my love,
a piece of my time,
a piece of myself,
this light that shines,
will be my prayer
that I shall continue to be, after I leave this place."
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