Hi All! We're back from our road-trip to south-eastern Washington (to attend a wedding). It feels good to be home again and back into a routine. In general, I've been getting caught up on things around the house, restocking the pantry, tackling the mail--virtual and otherwise, updating the website (we must not forget the new bonus transfer for September), and trying to get a handle on the garden, which seems to have flourished with abandon during our absence. I actually had to stop unpacking and make pickles right there on the spot!
It's been warm and dry and rain showers are in the forecast again. Which are most welcome, as summer rain is the very best kind of rain, I think. Autumn certainly seems to be nipping at the heels of summer. The leaves are already drying out and drifting on the wind. Soon the transformation of the landscape will begin. Like a painting, in progress, as the colors blend and change. It's my favorite time of year. I'm SO excited, aren't you?
The month of August sort of came and went in a flurry of activity around here, as good-weather months usually do. There were places to go, things to be done, people to see, and lots of lovely books to be read.
One book I really enjoyed was Susan Branch's new book, A Fine Romance. It's the story of how she met the "love of her life" and their shared dream of sailing to England. I was just finishing 'The Grand Sophy' when it arrived, so was already in an "English romance" frame of mind. (English romance with a wry twist of humor, that is. Love it!)
I must say, I loved 'A Fine Romance' just as much and had the most enjoyable time ever, just tagging along with Sue and Joe, sharing their adventures through the English countryside, joining them in roadside pubs, exploring ancient castles and the old homes of famous artists, and visiting family farms. I followed along (on her blog) last year as the trip was unfolding, and now, every detail and delicious tidbit is included in her book, which reads like a diary and travel journal, with the most beautiful illustrations sprinkled throughout, and all handwritten, which is just so charming and sweet. I've included a link, though I'm fairly certain that everybody has already gotten their hands on this darling book by now. As soon as I finished reading it my youngest daughter curled up with it. I can't wait to read it again.
I have also been admiring and gathering up some of the flower motifs from the old WorkBasket magazines. This page features the Aster; from Volume 20 - Number 12, published in September 1955. It seemed a fitting subject for today (and the season), since I am short on sewing projects to share just now. These are not hugely inspiring, but they are fun to look at. Hopefully I will be able to pick up my needle again soon.
Here's a summary of page 59, regarding the aster:
"In late summer and early fall the roadsides and meadows and edges of brooks are turned to blue and purple by the abundant native aster. In our gardens the same plant, in its cultivated forms, provides a bright display of pinks, blues, white and crimson. In any of these colors, this cluster of asters will be a colorful part of our flower design series. They may be embroidered, appliqued, hand painted, worked in needlepoint, or traced on paper for children to color. Quilt, bed spread, luncheon cloth motif, head scarf decoration, or needlepoint picture are some of the possible uses.
For a quilt, we suggest working design on 8 by 9 inch white blocks, alternating them in the quilt with white or pastel blocks of the same size. Depending on size of finished quilt, you will probably need three or four blocks of each flower.
In embroidering, the petals may be made with open lazy daisy stitches, with the line down the center of petals just one long stitch. French knots will make the centers. Leaves and stems may be worked in outline stitch. For the ambitious, satin stitch is a possible way of working the entire picture, and the effect would be striking.
To applique, it would be best to cut the outline of each blossom, rather than attempt to separate the petals. Details of petals may then be embroidered on, and the centers also. Use pink, blue, white, lavender or crimson for the flowers, with yellow centers. Make leaves a strong green."
The aster is also the birth-flower for September. Did you know there are over 250 varieties of Aster? Blue ones appear around the yard this time of year. They rise up from the ground confident, no worries at all, as the deer seem to avoid it. And that makes me love it all the more.
You can click on the aster pic to save it as a file or print it out if you want. I think it comes up rather large (full size) so you might want to preview it first to make any adjustments, or take it into photoshop to play with. I'll share more patterns from this issue in future posts. Either here or PatternBee Buzz.