Thursday, January 26, 2012

Vintage Handkerchief Buntings

Let me start off by saying

I am NOT a seamstress.

Not by any means or margin.

In fact, the last time I ever sewed anything on a real live sewing machine
was way back in junior high school.

Yeah....THAT long ago.

But when I saw some of these charming vintage handkerchief buntings on Etsy,
I thought that maybe...

just maybe

a simple project like this could be my reintroduction into Sewing 101. 

 ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~
Let's begin, shall we?

Assignment #1: Read the sewing machine handbook. This is an important step since you haven't a clue as to what you're doing.There are nice big pictures and very few words in it, so if you're in Pre-K Reading class, this will be a cake-walk.

Assignment #2:  Familiarize yourself with the machine. Talk to it and ask for it to play nice.

Assignment #3: Plug it in. This is the easiest part of this whole assignment.

Assignment #4:  Learn how to thread the needle. Have your Reader glasses ready.  That hole in the needle seems to be extremely small for some odd reason...

Assignment #5:  Go back to Assignment #4 and change it to "Learn how to wind the bobbin first".

Assignment #6:  Learn how to thread the needle (through that teeny weeny hole).

Assignment #7:  Practice, practice, practice on a piece of old fabric first because when you try to do it on the project you're making,
the machine suddenly makes a weird sound and stops working.

Assignment #8: Go back to Assignments #4 & 5 and change to "Learn how to wind the bobbin AND install it correctly".

Assignment #9:  Rip out tangled mess on back of project.

Assignment #10:  Proceed merrily - but cautiously - on your way.

** ♥ **

Ok ~ so for this project you're going to need:

1 package of double-wide seam binding,
some dressmaker pins,
4 or 5 vintage handkerchiefs


Cut each hankie in half on the diagonal.
No need to be really neat about it,
but try to cut in a straight line.

(Remember ~ this IS Sewing 101.)

Open up the binding and lay the cut edge of the hankie in the center of it.

Fold it over the hankie and pin.

Yup.  Just like this ~
all the way down the binding,
pinning whatever colored and patterned hankies that tickle your fancy in place
end to end (point to point).

With the 3 yards of binding that comes in a package,
I could get about 5 hankie halves pinned in a row
leaving about 3" at each end for ties.
(This will all depend on the size of your hankies.)

Now, here comes the scary part.

Sit down at your machine, 

say a short prayer
(this is a very important step),

lay your binding beneath the foot of the machine,

clamp it down,
(say another short prayer)


s l o w l y
press your foot on the "gas pedal".

(You're not driving a dragster here, ya know...
That comes with Sewing 901.)

Sew along the edge of the binding
plucking out the pins as you go
because you don't want to break the needle with the teeny weeny hole.

 I know that some of you Sewing 901 brainiac students are thinking,
"Why didn't she iron the binding down?"

Well, I didn't think of that until I got going.
Besides, my palms were too clammy.

Anyway, keep sewing right to the end of the binding.
I actually reversed the sewing at the end
to make sure the stitches were good and secure
with a little doohicky-switch-thingy above the needle.

(You read how to do that in Assignment #1...remember?)

say a thank you prayer that all went well
and that the bobbin didn't choke up and spit out knots of thread

(Failure to do Assignment #4 & 5)

even though you had to fill the tiny little bobbin a minimum of four different times which meant that you really learned to do it correctly
and probably won't need to read the handbook ever again in your life.

Drape your pretty vintage bunting on your frantel,
stand across the kitchen from it
and try to reach in back of you to pat yourself on the back.

You have now graduated to 
Sewing 201.

(Insert music to "Pomp & Circumstance" here)

These sweet vintage buntings will be for sale at the Allegan Antique Market this spring!

[ Blessings ]

Linking to the parties on the lower right of my sidebar.
Just click on the buttons!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

A Wintry Gift

Before I say anything,
I just wanted to thank all of you for leaving such kind comments every week.
I read each one,
try to reply to each one,
and treasure each one. ♥
A special welcome and warm hug to all my new friends who are following Heaven's Walk, too!

*  *  *  *  *

Quite a few of you asked to see more photos of the property here at Heaven's Walk...especially in the snow.
I think most of the requests came from you lucky birds living in warm, sunny climates. :)

We've been having such a mild winter so far, I wasn't sure when that would be.
But we just had our third big snowfall of the season the other day.
Six inches of the white fluffy stuff fell softly and quietly overnight 
to dress houses, trees, and fields in a layer of
pure white.

So, after Hubby and I finished plowing and shoveling our driveway and the neighbor's driveway that morning,
I took a walk with my camera.

Consider this a wintry gift from Heaven's Walk. 

* * ♥ * *

Our view across the road where deer peek out from the brush.

View from the neighbor's.

Yes, I'm standing in the middle of the road at 9am...

Standing in the side yard.

The arbor is wrapped in burlap to protect my 'Zephirine Drouhin' climbing roses, 
and a piece of plastic covers the vintage cement birdbath purchased at the antique market this summer.  I'm looking forward to planting 'Walker's Low' catmint around it in the spring.

The pond is bubbling merrily away.
It was the only sound outside this morning beside the chugging of Hubby's vintage tractor
and the clinking of the chains on the old tires.

Hubby was just finishing up plowing.  This kind-hearted man actually plows a path for the visiting deer who traverse through Apple Meadow behind our barn and pass through our property.
They actually showed up on the path right after we closed up the barn 
to devour the corn Hubby spreads out for them.

This is the view up the path into our woods.  
It's "party central" for the deer, turkeys, and fox.

I turned and looked down into Apple Meadow where the apple and cherry trees grow.
The deer love to bed down here because they feel so safe.
It's a sanctuary of peace and quiet for them.

I turned again to look back toward Heaven's Walk  ~
framed by the old mulberry tree
that creaks and groans in the winter winds.

Making my way back toward the house,
the deep red of the barn stood out in sharp contrast against the white world around me.
The sturdy old building was built even before our house was -
way back in the mid-1800's.

Once I made it to the barn, I turned around and looked back toward Apple Meadow.

When I reached the house,
I could see Maizie watching me from the window.

I opened the door and called to her to come outside and play.
She came skidding around the corner into the kitchen
nearly wiping out on the tile floor.

My little girl loves the snow!

Have you ever seen a happier face....?

{Almost reminds me of that commercial with the little pig on the zip line
that goes flying by with an ecstatic look on his face yelling,
"Weeeeeeee! Pure.....adrenaline!"}

I think this little bathing beauty was pretty happy, too...
in a quiet sort of way.

You know....
as I was creating this post, I kept looking back over the photos I took. 
My heart overflowed with the love I have for this old farmhouse,
my Hubby, and my furbabies... 

and I realized 

how very, very 


I really am...

[ Warm Blessings ]

Linking with the fabulous parties on the lower right of my sidebar.
Just click on the buttons!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

DIY Subway Art & Puffs


So, I had a piece of wood sitting in the basement
staring me in the face ~
silently laughing at me because I just didn't know what to do with it.

In the meantime,
Hubby got a really bad chest and head cold
and spent all week on the sofa
hugging numerous boxes of Puffs,

source: pinterest

coughing his germs all over the living room,
and guzzling concoctions of OJ, tart cherry juice, and Diet Sierra Mist
by the gallons.

I did everything humanly possible to stay out of the room, 
fearful I would inhale one of his cooties
and end up getting sick...

or heaven forbid

he would ask me to pick up his icky snot rags for him
to empty them in the wastepaper basket.

I did mother him,
baby him,
and care for him....

(really, I did)

from a    

d i s t a n c e.

I busied myself in my studio,
in the basement,
and in the kitchen.

And that piece of wood continued to laugh.

Then, I had an "A-HA" moment.
I took the wood outside to Hubby's tool room to cut it in half
with the circular saw.
(I saw a flash of "Uh-oh...there she goes again..."
cross his pale face when I asked him from a
 d i s t a n c e 
how to turn it on.)

Back inside,
I painted the two boards with a couple coats of black chalkboard paint,
and while they were drying
I headed back into my studio to print off some sayings,
and to dig out the white transfer paper 
and white paint pens.

Santa failed to bring me one of those new fangled Cricuts.)

I set everything up in the kitchen
(where I could hear poor Hubby's snuffles, snorts and snotty nose)
and got to work.

I taped the sayings to each board with a piece of transfer paper beneath it.

Then, got to work tracing each letter.

That done,
I filled in each letter with a white paint pen
(that you can pick up at any craft store).

After sealing them with a coat of clear wax,
my DIY subway art art was ready to sell!

I'm thinking these need a wee bit of distressing yet...

No more laughing.

That board is now 


and our germy house 

has been

f u m i g a t e d.

[ Blessings ]

Linking to the parties on the lower right of my sidebar.
Just click on the buttons!

Thursday, January 12, 2012

.....And She's Down...!!

Bet'cha you were thinking
that this was going to be a post about
me doing something really stupid
and falling over something,
didn't you?

Well...I won't lie to you.
I've had my fair share of cartoonish mishaps and clutzy maneuvers in my life ~

Like the time I was hauling a 40 lb bag of kitty litter out of the back of my SUV.
I had forgotten that Hubby had put the trailer hitch back on it
for me to haul the trailer full of mulch around the property.

You guessed it.

While hugging that litter bag,
I turned, hit the hitch with my shin,
and promptly fell head over heels into the grass -

the litter bag landing on top of me.

NOT a pretty sight.

I remember thinking 
"Ow!! Ow! Ow!! I think I broke it!"

#2 vanity-driven thought was,

"Oh, good gravy...
did the roofers reshingling our house just see me do that...???!!"

#3 vanity-driven thought was:

Graceful. Get up graceful-like, you ninny...

#4 thought:

with a litter bag laying on top of me....??"

I hobbled around with a huge dent in my shin for weeks after that.

{You're welcome for your laugh for the week.}

I digress.

You all know Heaven's Walk as looking like this
on a spectacular late summer day.

This photo was taken about four years ago before the new dark green shingles were put on,
before I created the semi-circular garden beds in the backyard,
before we put up the big white arbor back there
(and before the dent in my leg).

I guess it's time I updated the exterior photos of our home. A lot has been accomplished in the six years we've lived here.

Well, this is what Heaven's Walk looked like on December 11.

A beautifully sunny but verrrry cold winter day.
The temps topped out at 25 degrees. was cccccold.

And that was the day that the once lovely old maple
and graced our property
and hugged our home
for 130 years 
was to be taken down.

It was a bittersweet day for us.

We had been concerned about it after seeing more and more random branches falling after slight winds,
and noticing more and more dead limbs that didn't produce any leaves.
We were also concerned with it being planted only 24" away from the house,
what it might be doing to our foundation.

So, the difficult decision was made to have it removed.

The guys showed up bright and early at 9am bundled up against the cold weather.
We were all glad for the weak warmth of the sunshine.

(And yes....I was out there, too - looking like the Michelin woman...
Nobody was going to call THIS gal a wimp.)

The first thing they did was to decide where to "fell" it.
Then, they wrapped a huge chain around the bottom of the 48" trunk,
and attach a snatch-strap to a large limb
which was then attached to the hitch on a truck.

The truck drove out into the apple orchard (to the left of the house) and pulled the strap tight.
They first cut off one of the extremely large limbs that spanned the width of our house,
then started in on notching the base of the tree.

After insuring that everyone was safely out of the way,
the strap being pulled tight,
and the notch completed...

MIC and son conferring final steps to be taken

the chainsaw began making it's way through the decades of growth.

I was amazed how quickly it bit through that wide base.

Within 10 minutes
she was down
with a
and billowing snow.

The ground shivered like an earthquake just rolled through.

"MIC" (Man-in-Charge) wiped his brow,
grateful that the trunk didn't "bite" back into the house
and cause any damage to the foundation or air conditioner.

It fell absolutely perfect
and actually only did minor damage to my old "Dr. Suess" pear tree that I wanted saved.
It's where I hang all of my bird feeders
and where the deer visit every evening.
It's referred to as my Dr. Suess tree because it looks like something right out of his books;
kind of lop-sided and wonky.

The tree fell right between the other old maple and the old pear tree.

The landscape of Heaven's Walk was forever changed.

Hubby actually counted all the rings.

One-hundred and thirty-two to be exact,
with a nine foot circumference.

She was an amazing old tree.

Now the real work began.
Cutting up all that wood,
carrying and carting piles and piles of brush into the woods
for protection for all the little creatures out there,
and stacking smaller diameter pieces into a trailer.

We all worked up a sweat and only took one break....

for lunch.

I certainly didn't have to work out on my elliptical that day.

MIC's son on the left, Hubby in the gray sweatshirt, Tom, our neighbor in the black coat, and MIC's grandson in red.

MIC and his son kept busy cutting and cutting and cutting and cutting.

We kept busy hauling and hauling and hauling and hauling brush
waaaaay out into the woods.
We kept looking back the house ~
amazed at how different it looked.

Pear tree center of photo

I raked twigs and sawdust (and snow...) into piles;
MIC and his son kept cutting;
Grandson kept stacking,
Hubby and Tom kept hauling....

for  h o u r s.

The only damage done to my pear tree was the one broken limb you see on the left. Still long enough to hang a feeder from.

After the smaller pieces of wood were stacked in the trailers
to be used for heating MIC's and his son's homes,
the larger pieces of wood were mechanically split.

The entire job was completed and we called it a day at 4pm.

We were all exhausted
but very happy with the way everything turned out that day.

~ ~ ~ ~ ~

On the way home from church the next morning,
Hubby and I noticed how different Heaven's Walk looked.


Like she could  

b r e a t h e 


It was a little warmer that day,
so we replanted the little pine tree outside the kitchen window
that Hubby had removed to protect it.

Did anyone notice the white freshly painted railing on the widow's walk that was completed by Yours Truly this summer.....? Lovely, is it not?

I rehung the bird feeders on the old pear tree
and within 5 minutes
the chickadees, nuthatch, and finches who were all wondering where their food was,
returned for their breakfast.

We will be planting a pine tree
or two...
or three...
at the corner of the house
 where I've always wanted some ~

on this side of the stump, mind you.

We'll have that huge stump ground down first.
Fresh mulch will be laid over the area in the spring so that the
sweet woodruff can take hold.

Photo taken late spring 2010

Thank you, dear Old Maple ~
for shading our house during hot summer days,
throwing your brightly colored leaves across the lawn in the autumn like confetti
(which...yes....did drive me crazy....but the colors were pretty),
and standing like a guardian to our home for so many years.

You will be missed.

But you are now providing heat for two families this winter.



[ Blessings ]

Linking to the parties on the lower right of my sidebar.
Just click on the buttons!