Here it is, our new picnic blanket. I was making the bias tape I showed you the other day for this. I fell in love with the idea of this blanket when I first received my copy of Handmade Home. I knew I just had to make it, and I finally did. I raided my stash of vintage sheets and used an old pink bedspread we didn’t use anymore. I made the bias from an old vintage sheet that I loved. I absolutely love the way it turned out. We used to lay out an old comforter for picnics, but how much better it is to unroll a handmade blanket made solely for the purpose of picnics. I’ve really been working on decluttering and though it seems excruciatingly slow at times, I am trying to get to the point where everything we have is something that we actively use and love. Since we have been going on regular picnics this summer, it is just what we needed. It is decidedly feminine and with three guys in the family, I think I will be searching for some more masculine vintage fabrics to make a second blanket as well. It is a pretty good size, but I think two picnic blankets will give us a little bit more room to spread out. Unfortunately we will probably only be going for a few more picnics before the weather turns bitterly cold, but in the meantime I plan to enjoy it completely and then look forward to next spring when it can be put into use on a regular basis again.
Sometimes it’s a lot of fun to be a tourist in your own town. Last week after we went to the farmer’s market, we decided to walk around town a bit as the weather was glorious. All too often I fail to see what’s around me because I’m so used to it.These giant boots are all around town, my kids love looking for them.This horse sculpture is made up of hundreds of pieces of scrap metal. My oldest who loves anything to do with horses, was fascinated.This is the old train depot which has been turned into a pub and a railroad museum. It was a lot of fun to try to look through the eyes of a visitor to our town, I was able to see a lot of things that I usually pass by without thinking too much about.
I’m in the middle of working on a big project, well not really big but when you add in lots of distractions small things suddenly become big. Anyway, there is something I just love about bias tape that is homemade out of fun fabrics. I think it makes a world of difference when compared to the plain store bought variety. I had fun making this yesterday afternoon when I had a few quiet moments while the baby slept and the bigger kids read quietly in their beds. I’m hoping to finish this project soon and show you all on Saturday.
This has been the first year I’ve really attempted a garden. We’ve had some successes and plenty of failures. We’ve had some really unusual weather this summer and everyone I know who has a garden has had plenty of issues, even experienced gardeners. We’ve had lots of fun, and it’s actually been very calming for me. I love going out and watering in the mornings, even the weeding wasn’t too bad. The best part was being able to walk outside, pluck a juicy, ripe tomato, and then slice it up for lunch all within five minutes of it being on the vine. More often than not I had eager helpers. All in all I’m very pleased with the results, and look forward to having another go next year. The temperature in the last two weeks has been really strange as the first week was in the 90’s and then it scooped down to a week of the 40’s (even snowing one day). Now we are back up to the 70’s and it is feeling more like the beginning of fall should feel. I love snuggling up with a blanket and drinking hot cocoa to warm up in the evenings, but only after a proper fall. I was not liking the sudden jumps in temperature. I think the extremes did my tomato plants in as they pretty much look dead now. There are at least a couple of dozen green tomatoes still on them and though it is a little sad that I do not think they will continue to ripen, I’m thankful for all of the ripe, juicy tomatoes we have had in the last several weeks. The picture above is of all of the remaining ripe, or almost ripe tomatoes that we decided to rescue in case of another drop in temperature. I haven’t quite decided what to do with the green tomatoes, but think perhaps trying a new green tomato recipe might be the trick to using them up. Any suggestions?
Sadly this was the last week of our local farmer’s market. I was looking for some good bargains on items that I could preserve for the winter, and I knew I hit the jackpot when I saw these gorgeous peppers. We have one organic farm that has a stall at the market, and their produce is exceptional and their prices are phenomenal. Often their prices beat the conventional produce of the other sellers. As much as we can, we try to buy organic food and support the farmers who are growing their produce in this way. With six mouths to feed and a tight food budget it isn’t always possible to buy organic, so when I come across a good deal I try to stock up. I think they thought I was a little nutty when I told them I wanted 20 peppers, oh well, I had a plan. When we got home I started to wash, slice, and dice these babies and after a couple of hours (with plenty of distractions), I had these… 20 bags of diced peppers ready to go into the freezer. Not only will it save me time when trying to get supper ready, but we will have scrumptious, farm fresh, organic bell peppers during the freezing, wintery months. The only regret I have is that I didn’t buy more.
As a homeschooling mama, I always have my eye out for different and fun ways to learn things. eeBoo Flowers alphabet rummy is a game we love. They are well designed and sturdy, the pictures are colourful and there are little faeries on each card. Since we’ve started playing this game my kids have soaked in some of the flower names without even trying. They recognize many of the flowers when they see them out and about, and I’ve learned quite a few myself. Our favourite version of the game is Pick A Posey, which is basically Go Fish. At 8, 6, and 4 all of them can manage playing it well, and we all have a great time doing it. Anything that can combine learning and fun is good in my book, and these fit the bill perfectly.
This is one of my favourite chairs. My mom and I found it at an antique store in town last year and she gave it to my daughter for Christmas. At the moment my four year old daughter uses it at the table as she couldn’t quite reach high enough, but soon it will be passed down to my 14 month old. She’s getting antsy in her highchair, I think she just wants to be right up to the table with the rest of us. I love that it takes up so little space, and it’s the perfect height so that little ones don’t have to eat with their hands up by their ears. I love the pale green that it was painted and the fact that it is worn on the edges. It had a life before it came to live with us, and besides, I would much rather find a piece that has a history than just purchasing something new. I think it adds much more charm. I love pieces with a history whether I know exactly what it is or not, and I really love that it will have a life after my little ones when we pass it down to their little ones.
During this last part of summer we quite easily slipped into the habit of packing up a picnic every Saturday and heading out to a park or lake. It has been wonderful to get out and see some beautiful scenery. The children enjoy running around breathing in the fresh air, and seeing a bunch of different plants and animals along the way. Lately I have been trying to be more observant of the nature around us and have been quite surprised at what I can see when I just keep my eyes open. This afternoon out brought plenty of bees, butterflies, rabbits, a deer, beautiful old wooden gates and a sculpture made entirely out of horseshoes. I’m loving that this has become a bit of a routine and will be sad to come to the point where the weather prevents us from going out quite so much. I do look forward to walks and picnics as the autumn continues, as the trees are now starting to change. I love the fall colours and the nip in the air.
One of my favourite ways to repurpose vintage linens is to make cloth totes out of them. They make great gifts and they are inexpensive and quick to make. They are so useful, and I just love seeing different vintage fabrics instead of boring (and bad) plastic bags. These totes are lightweight yet sturdy, and can easily be folded up to throw in a purse or diaper bag. I have totes like these all over, several in the house and a bag full in the car. The kids love carrying their own little versions at the farmer’s market. This is a great quick project, especially if you are just learning to sew. They are great to sew up assembly line style if you want or need quite a few. There are free patterns online, or simple patterns in several craft books as well. Sew What! Bags: 18 Pattern-Free Projects You Can Customize to Fit Your Needs, Lotta Jansdotter’s Simple Sewing: Patterns and How-To for 24 Fresh and Easy Projects and Handmade Home: Simple Ways to Repurpose Old Materials into New Family Treasures all have simple, cute tote bag patterns or instructions. These three bags are available in my shop. Switching to cloth bags is not only great for the environment, it is so much fun using and seeing colourful and fun fabrics. Do try one yourself. Have a great day!