"I do believe in an everyday sort of magic...the inexplicable connectedness we sometimes experience with places, people, works of art and the like; the eerie appropriateness of moments of synchronicity; the whispered voice, the hidden presence, when we think we're alone." Charles de Lint

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Windows With Views

A few days ago I posted about my love for window sills
The new kitchen window in Portland has a nice wide sill and a delightful view. 

The dining room has a double window with a deep ledge for all kinds of fun things...and the same nice view. I think these glass balls from our trip to Cape Cod will be pretty hanging here. 

We are an end unit so we have a nice yard along the side.

Here's the view down our quiet little cul-de sac. I've met a couple of neighbors and have already fallen in love with 90 year old Zelda right across the street.

Our back patio overlooks the woods....it's very quiet and peaceful back there with lots of birds. The fence isn't likely staying and eventually I hope to have some sort of a little garden....but maybe not until next year.  Just a few patio pots will do for this year.

Solomon's Seal...


I love Solomon's Seal.  When I took this photo below I was wondering what the centers of the little flowers looked like....so I put my camera on the "selfie" mode and took the photo from underneath.  I didn't want to be in the picture....but there I am...or at least one eye. I think I'm on to something with this flower selfie thing.....

Tuesday, May 30, 2017


....to our new home in Portland Maine!  We got the keys today and the movers come on Thursday!

This home is actually a condo which works for us on so many levels....more on that later. It has 2 bedrooms on the first floor and 1 on the second, 3 bathrooms, a study, an open living/dining room, a kitchen and a second floor family room that will be my art and craft studio. Great space when we're here full time on down the road....and plenty of room to spread out and share now.

I believe every decorating project needs an inspiration piece. It can be anything...a piece of art, a swatch of fabric, or even a greeting card. My inspiration for this home is this rug. It's called "Paint Chips" by Dash and Albert and I couldn't love it more!

As you come in the front door there's a bit of a hallway and I think this splash of color says "welcome!"

Aren't these colors just yummy! 

The hallways leads into a very large room with beautiful hickory floors. The front part is the dining room....the back the living room. We inherited insulated window quilts which I think we'll keep...but I'll have to come up with window treatments to hide the rollers.  A new dining room fixture is one of the first things on the list to shop for.

In the back left corner of the living room by the sliding doors is a study. I love that this home has lots of nooks and living spaces....one of the reasons we fell in love with it. 

The cherished "blue chair" was the last thing to move out of the South Portland house and the first thing to come here.  Paul is staying up here until the movers come...he has the blue chair and an aero bed...he'll be fine.

You can read the whole story of the blue chair here: http://joyfulputtering.blogspot.com/2016/05/the-blue-chair.html

There will be a lot more to come as I turn this blank canvas into a home....the perfect puttering project! It will take some time...but that's part of the fun.  

Monday, May 29, 2017

May is Done....

....just in the nick of time! Look how well it goes with the paper tubes at the top of this blog! I do love color!

In the end I decided to mix in more buttons on my May project. The needle punched tufts on all the flowers was too much and the buttons seemed to tone it down a bit...if that's possible. I wonder what's coming next for Folt Bolt's June color scheme. I'm a little late submitting this month's...so we'll see what happens. It doesn't really matter because it's all about the challenge...and of course the joy! 

I fused the fabric around the paint panel again this time...a pretty slick and easy way to finish a piece. This one is a tiny 5" by 7".

 It's a little goofy....but also happy and fun. Did I mention it's done! Yay! You can see the first 4 months here.

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Operation Smother

This is a garden project post and it's a little long.  But it's where a big chunk of my creative energy has gone recently so deserved a place here on the blog. It wasn't really a "joyful puttering" project...it was more of a mission.  If you're interested....read on.  If not...enjoy the day!

I have lived in this house in Lexington, the Hancock Church parsonage, for 8 years. It's a great house and Paul and I are very happy here.  
I inherited a large neglected garden in the back yard filled with several invasive plants and one kind of ordinary hosta.  I have been reinventing one end closest to the house over the years...weeding out the garlic mustard, lily of the valley, and wild onion and adding a variety of hosta and other shade loving plants. I change it up a little every year. 

This photo below is from last year a little later in the season...but I wanted to set the stage for the project. The ferns that you can see in the middle of the photo on the left are the line. My reinvented garden is on this side of the ferns....the ordinary hosta, lily of the valley, and violets etc are on the other side. All these years I have let the back side do whatever it wanted to do.  

Last summer I gave a woman walking by a tour of the yard. The first thing she said when she saw my back garden was..."oh my you have bishop's weed." If you look back at the photo above...it's blooming right behind the ferns.....you have to look closely.

I had no idea it was yet another invasive plant I inherited.  It wasn't bad looking....it actually had a lovely bloom that looked a lot like Queen Anne's Lace. It was in the back 1/2 of the garden so I didn't worry too much about it.

But  this spring I noticed that it was coming in very thick...and moving vigorously into my tended space. Something had to be done! After doing some research online I collected my materials and "OPERATION SMOTHER" began.

I'm showing the end of my project first...because many times during this process I wondered "WHAT WAS I THINKING!" But for the most part it's done and I'm OK with the result. It's environmentally friendly and...other than being a lot of work it didn't cost anything.

To start with I collected lots of cardboard and newspaper....thanks Linda and Janet for contributing. I marked off the area and had it all weed wacked right down to the ground. The area to the right of the cardboard I will hand dig and keep cleaning up throughout the spring and summer.

I used a smothering technique I learned from a landscaper in Maine that you can read about here.  I covered the ground with cardboard then a thick layer of wet newspaper then a layer of mulch. Do you see why I didn't lead with this photo? It looks pretty sad and hopeless.

Over several days I got 4 car loads of ugly chunky wood chips free from the town transfer facility. You can't shovel this stuff....and a pitch fork only sort of works. But I persisted.

I'm getting there. 

I hated the way the wood chips looked. But lucky for me I had a pile of better looking hemlock mulch in the way back of my yard  left over from several years ago.  I covered the wood chips and it looks much better.

My plan is to let this sit for a year or two and hopefully smother the weed.  At that point I'll plant some sort of shrub or understory tree keeping it simple and heavily mulched. Any sign of it on either side I will tackle by hand.  It may seem kind of stark...but it's really not bad in person. My view from the patio is just as nice as it's ever been.  

I had just finished the project when I took this photo...dirty knees and all.  There's something very satisfying about completing a large, manual labor project. Maybe it's my inner farm girl coming out. I think "operation smother" was a success. but I can see from this photo that I need to clean my patio stones. Oy!

This is what it looks like from the edge of the mulch back right now. The ordinary hosta is growing...and the way back is full of violets and lily of the valley and my compost bin.  I'm still going to leave this part alone for a while...and just try and keep the bishop's weed out as I see it. Maybe someday I'll smother this too.

Saturday, May 27, 2017

I'm Getting There!

I've made some progress on my May Folt Bolt color scheme project.  I decided I didn't like the placement of the tiny little "joy"....so I added a bigger one.  I will strategically cover the other one with a leaf or a flower. I trimmed the piece to the size of my paint panel and added a tone on tone polka dotted border that will be fused around the canvas.

I also chose some buttons....there will always be buttons.

Because the backs of the needle punched tufts are glued and sealed....I ended up cutting all the back ground fabric off....it's just going to work better. Once I get it mounted I will glue them on separately using tacky glue. I'm still trying to decide whether I'm adding leaves....we'll see.

I worked on the hand stitching this evening...blanket stitches around the flower dots and backstitched stems.  I'm getting there!                                                                                 

Friday, May 26, 2017

Coptic Stitch

Monday's book binding class was on coptic stitch....probably the most used binding and the most difficult to master....for me. This lesson really helped. All the planners I've made for Connie used the coptic stitch...but my books had a spine that covered my imperfect stitching. This technique exposes the folds of the signatures and the stitching.

We started by covering our cover boards. We've been using spray adhesive in class...not something I've used much and it works pretty well! Annie taught us to cut the corners about 1/4 inch away from the corner of the board. Using a bone folder bend the ends up and burnish to get good contact along the edge.

Fold two opposite edges around and  burnish again.

Also using the bone folder make a crease along the board and recut the corner.  This technique insures that the board is completely covered....no corners of the board poking through.                                                                                                                                                                        
Fold the other two sides around and burnish for a good seal. Cover sheets were added after the stitching.

Annie made lined paper for this book so we could use it as a journal. We folded six signatures of four folios each. Using a template and an awl...we poked holes in the signatures. and punched holes in the cover boards.

I have a slick 1/6" punch that worked well on the boards.
We used waxed linen thread for the stitching to help keep it tight.

Time to stitch...a curved upholstery needle is really helpful for the coptic stitch. Once I got going I forgot to take pictures....I had to really concentrate.
I still need to practice making my stitches more uniform.....but I'm getting there. There are many ways to add decorative elements to this type of stitch. I will use this again and again...and hopefully get better at some point.

Like the window book, a coptic bound book lays flat when open so makes a good journal or sketchbook. We have a week off for Memorial Day...then one more class. This class has been good for me! Yay!

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Window Sill Love

I've said it before...I love my kitchen window sill.  I change it seasonally and like to snip things from the yard to add to my rooting plants. Today I added little snips from the spirea bush in the back yard.

Aren't those tiny yellow stamens just a delight?

It may be silly....but one of the things I checked out in every single house we looked at in Maine was the kitchen window sill. And, I'm happy to report that I got one that will work just fine. And...I also will admit that we looked at one particular character filled house that I fell in love with. But...it was too expensive and needed too much work...but it had the best kitchen window sill ever. I was really conflicted.
I put two and two together a little later in the day that I have a view of my neighbors spirea too! That's kind of fun!

You can check out photos of some of my seasonal window sills here.

I have a great story about my window sill when we lived in Madison, Wisconsin....but that's for another day.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Inspiration Piece

This is the inspiration piece that got me interested in needle punch.  I found it several years ago in a little handicraft shop in the middle of Maine near Moosehead Lake.  It was framed kind of oddly in a shadow box with a wallpaper background but it very reasonably priced for something so special. It's about 10" by 10". I snatched it up and took it out of the frame as soon as I got home. I've had it hanging on the bulletin board in my craft room....but I think it's going to have a spot in my new studio eventually. It's quite a splash of color and makes me smile every time I see it.