Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween

Isn't this little guy cute? My daughter, who is gifted at modeling clay made him for me when she was eight or nine years old. She has loved working with clay since she was quite young. I can't wait to show you some of the Christmas Santas she's made for me over the years. I promise to share them when I "unpack" Christmas.

Another gifted crafter in my family is Terry, my sister-in-law. When visiting her and my brother Rick in September, Terry was just finishing up several of her newest Fall projects, these spooky little trees. They are actually made from real tree branches, which she boils to clean, hand paints, glitters then embellishes.

Some of the embellishments are hand cut shapes from old books and decorated like this spider's web. Thanks Terry for the gift of one of your trees. It's been a fall decoration in my dining room for several weeks now.

And now, my little guy from Kate has a place to hang out after
Happy Halloween!

Happy Birthday Nancy!

Today is my sister's birthday and if you've got a minute, scoot on over to Nanniepannies and wish her a happy day!
I've baked her traditional choice for birthday cake~
Decadent Carrot Cake
(Serves 20)
2 c. flour
2 t. soda
2 t. cinnamon
1t. salt
2 c. sugar
4 eggs
1 1/4 c. cooking oil
2 c. finely grated carrots
Sift dry ingredients together. Mix eggs, cooking oil and carrots together and add to dry ingredients. Beat hard. Bake in 2 layer pans at 350 degrees F. for 45 minutes.
Cream Cheese Icing
1 stick butter
1 8-oz. pkg. cream cheese
1 box powdered sugar
1 c. chopped nuts (pecans)
Cream cheese and butter. Add sugar gradually. Blend in nuts.
This is a very old recipe. Do not even attempt to make it unless you've got 19 other people to share it with--it's rich beyond belief, but SO good! I make this cake for her every year. This year we have both vowed, when the cake gets cut this evening, half goes into the freezer for dessert during Thanksgiving.
Our neighborhood association recently made Nancy a very happy woman by giving Buttermilk Cottage the "Yard of the Month." This is the SECOND time she's been awarded this recognition and she deserves it. We do have a lovely yard and it's all due to her efforts.

"For there is no friend like a sister
In calm or stormy weather;
To cheer one on the tedious way,
To fetch one if one goes astray,
To lift one if one totters down,
To strengthen whilst one stands."
Christina Rossetti
Have a great day, my dear sister and best friend, Nancy!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sweater Weather!

Do you have a favorite sweater you reach for time after time, not because it's stylish, but because it's comfortable?

Right now, this is that sweater for me. I knitted this sweater many years ago for my (at that time) husband. After we parted ways, our daughter claimed it for herself and took it off to college with her. When making her move to NYC last summer the sweater was left behind. Not chic enough??? At any rate, it made it's way back to me and I'm happy to have it. It's a classic, even though it's hopelessly too big. I keep planning to reknit the sleeves but they roll up easily enough. Great sweater for wearing over pj's!

I also have sweaters that I never wear anymore, but just cannot part with yet. This "Artsy" sweater is one. I saw this sweater in a shop in Denmark many years ago. Avid knitter that I am, I was also visiting yarn shops during that trip to Denmark and, lo and behold, found a kit to knit it! The directions were all in Danish, but because of its graphic nature, a chart was included. The shop keeper was nice enough to write out the English words for each of the colors represented on the graph. It is probably one of the most challenging sweater I've ever knit--seven stitches to the inch! I might yet wear it again sometime...maybe...

This is a "store bought" Liz Claiborne that I've probably had for twenty five years. It was stylish before Ralph Lauren did the whole Polo thing. I wore and loved it to death. When 9/11 happened my daughter was in middle school and she pulled it out of retirement and wore it to express her love of country. The sweater hasn't been worn in ages, but I just can't let it go. I'm thinking it would be great repurposed as a pillow...

This is a little sweater knitted for Kate when she was a toddler. She looked SO cute in it. Maybe we'll have a little one in the family someday and I can pull it out and say, "Your Mom wore this when she was little like you."

At one time, this was an absolute favorite! I knitted it in white cotton. Note the tiny waist!
Even if it ever comes back in style, I won't be wearing it!

I loved this sweater because of all the textural interest.

This is a hand knit sweater, but not by me. I found this sweater in a gift shop while staying at a resort in North Carolina during a spring trip, again, many years ago. Believe it or not, I got this sweater for $5.00. They had several and I guess they were closing them out. I wish I had bought them all now. It's a very heavy wool, man's sweater. I was able to unravel the sleeves and reknit them. It hits me mid-thigh and it's been my "dog-walking coat" for several winters now. I love this sweater.

I cannot talk about sweaters in my life without paying homage to the Bohus Sweater. This is me, circa 1986, wearing my own cardigan design, inspired by the two pullovers behind me. All three sweaters were knitted by me. The customers at the shop where I was teaching knitting were all knitting this sweater in classes. I kid you not, there were probably over two hundred of these sweaters knitted by my students during that time. We ALL had one or more.

I even did a Christmas-inspired Bohus sweater!

I still have it, but don't wear it anymore.

Now this Christmas sweater I DO still wear. I know, I know...Christmas sweaters are now considered gauche. I designed this sweater using a cross stitch pattern (my love of sheep...)
twenty five or so years ago. At that time I had a custom knitting business and trust me, I sold many of these sweaters. I still pull it out and wear it when I'm decorating for the holidays.

It's oversized, so comfortable and it puts me right in the mood for the season!

One last picture of me at my fashionable (???)best from the distant past. Believe it or not, this was a design from VOGUE KNITTING and at the time, tres chic!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Countdown has Begun!

Lately, I have lagged a bit with new posts. Although I love blogging, reading and posting, I seem to have been letting it slip lately. After giving it some thought, I realize why. Here at Buttermilk Cottage I'm in the midst of getting ready for my annual "Fiber Holiday Show."

A wreath from Nanniepannie
This year, the three day event will be held the weekend before Thanksgiving. We've moved the date up two weeks, hoping to make the holiday season a little more festive and less stressful for the show's participants. So, I'm knitting like a demon to complete some projects and taking care of lots of behind the scene details. With that in mind, I thought I'd share a sample of last year's show with you.
This is the sight that greeted visitors as they entered the front door. "Vendors" consists of seven of my "fiber artists/craftswomen" buddies and me. My house becomes a boutique for the weekend.

I move a small desk into the entrance, which serves as our counter. Every inch of space becomes display area for our work.

Mediums represented include basketry, felting, knitting, quilting, sewing and woodworking.
The majority of our merchandise is handmade, but we do have some fun jewelry, gift food items, and other goodies to tempt our customers!

We all knit, so we have a fantastic scarf selection. You can see a corner of the tree which displays our handmade ornaments.

Olivia and Sidney are the grand neices of my neighbor Anna. Their Christmas concert happened to be the same Saturday as our sale last year, so they came and delighted our customers with an impromptu violin concert.

This is the view from the entrance into the living room. I wish I had individual pictures to spotlight everyone's work, but alas, these pictures were taken "before" blogging...

The dining room table and window seat were both naturals for displaying work.

Although Nanniepannie doesn't consider herself a fiber artist, she wanted to be involved too. So, she put together some outstanding holiday wreaths.

The bedroom dresser with its array. Note the quilted wall haning and the small hand woven basket.

A corner of the bedroom was a great place for showing off some wearables.

Another quilted wall hanging.

Even the bathroom had its display of knitted bath mitts and soaps!

One final display to tempt visitors as they left!
So, you can see why I'm a bit preoccupied just now. I am four weeks away from this year's event, and my goal is that it be bigger and better than last year's. I'll keep you "posted."

Monday, October 18, 2010

A Tribute to my Dad

I'm sending you over to my sister's blog, Nanniepannies, today. She wrote such a sweet blog about our Dad, that I wanted to share it with all of you.
Have a great day and an even better week!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Bo Peep's Sheep

Just a quick hello this weekend to tell you that one of my little knitted sheep, Bo Peep's Sheep
was included today in an Etsy Treasury titled
"A Celebration of all Things Woolen."
You can see the complete Treasury on my sidebar or go here.
Debs put this Treasury together to recognize
UK's National Wool Week Celebration.
You can read all about it at her blog,
You can also visit her Etsy Shop,
for lots of knitted goodies!

Bo Peep's Sheep is available already knitted or in a kit to knit yourself!

Hope your weekend is an outstanding one!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Inspired by Autumn

My knitting needles have been clicking away lately.

I've just completed my latest project.
Inspired by the gorgeous colors of Fall,

I put together a FUSION of textures, colors and yarns I'm calling...


Just the thing to wrap yourself in on a crisp Autumn day or evening.

You can find it in my etsy shop.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Good Morning!

Goole Image
My days of making weekday breakfast, packing lunches and in the car by seven thirty are finished. A typical morning for me now is to roll out of bed, throw on some clothes and out with Daisy for a morning walk by seven. However, this week Nanniepannie is away so I'm cat sitting Dixie. This morning she started "crying" for her breakfast around five thirty. I ignored her until six.

Dixie is elderly and blind, but still a very sweet little girl. However, because she's also deaf she can be VERY vocal. She won't allow you to ignore her for long. Her needs are simple, open a small can of cat food, fill her cereal and water bowls and scoop the litter box. She's then good for the day!

Google Image

Now that Dixie has me going, my plan for today is window washing.

Hope you have a lovely day today!

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Have a Seat

I'm noticing a definite trend in my house. I'm attracted to chairs! This is a framed print I've had for a while. There's something about it I love--the graceful lines of the chair, the background of old printed script, its simple black frame . It's one of those little accent pieces I move around from place to place whenever I'm rearranging.

This is the first piece of furniture my husband and I bought when we were first married. We found it at a craft show and bought it from a couple who restored chairs and were well known in our area for their chair caning craftsmanship.

I love this chair, even though I don't have "the perfect" place for it in my house. It gets moved around from spot to spot depending upon the season. Despite my constant efforts to downsize, I cannot part with it. I've even recaned it a couple of times myself.

This wicker chair actually belongs to my sister, Nanniepannie, but it sits on the front porch of Buttermilk Cottage, so I enjoy "having" it too. It was our grandmother's and Nancy actually has a picture of our grandmother holding her as a child and sitting in this chair. Priceless...
A few years ago this chair was in pitiful condition. The back and seat were broken and the chair had been banished to the garden shed. However, I have a good friend, Katherine, who is a gifted basket weaver and she generously repaired it for us.

Before moving into this house I did some serious downsizing. My former husband and I actually split all the furniture from the house we shared and I had enough to completely fill my space here. Except for in the kitchen, where the only "new" furniture I bought were two chairs to sit at my kitchen table.

I found these two chairs at an area antique shop and knew they had a home with me! Until I started blogging, this was where I spent every morning with my coffee and crossword puzzle. Now that time seems to be spent at my computer...

Another example of my chair fetish is this framed print. I first saw it several years ago, prior to "this lifetime," but it's a fairly large piece and I had no place for it. So, I "visited" it regularly in the store. I loved the colors and the organic feel of it.
Fast forward through a divorce and the purchase of another home. I went back to the store and bought it for "my new house" thinking it would be perfect in my dining room when I moved. Another fast forward through an addition of an office and bathroom and a total redo of the kitchen, plus painting and other cosmetic changes. Financial panic set in and I decided there was no way I should be buying art when I had all these other expenses. So, sadly the picture went back to the store.

Then, I moved into Buttermilk Cottage, the dust settled and I still had that picture in my head. So, back to the store (this was probably a year after I previously returned it) to get it. But, it wasn't hanging in the art/wall hanging section of the store. I walked around, dejectedly, telling myself what an idiot I was, when there it was, hanging in the floral department!!! It didn't end up in the dining room as I had planned, but found it's home in the living room where I take pleasure in seeing it everyday.

Here's one final little chair print which I found at Michael's. It hangs in my dining room. It attracted me because I love the color blue, the wood floor and snippet of rug remind me of my real dining room, the play of sunlight and shadow and quite simply, I'm attracted to chairs.

Let's sit awhile.

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