Bonjour Octobre

Here we are on October 1st…. the year just flying by!

On the first day of fall, Mother Nature flipped a switch and we went from summer to autumn in an instant. The days are lucky to make it above 20 Celsius, and the nights are down right chilly. We haven’t turned the heat on yet, but only because I’m stubborn and have lots of sweaters and quilts.

I try to make it to November 1st without having to turn the furnace on… but it’s hard to say if I’ll make it this year. It’s usually a little warmer than this at the beginning of October.

The last week has been mostly rain (where was it all summer???), and since the nights haven’t made it quite to freezing (though it’s been close a couple of nights), the yard is still bright and green, and there’s still lots in bloom.

The catio garden is still pure garden chaos. While I was at Mom’s last weekend, Dave had to bring the cats in at night. Apparently, Relic was being stubborn, and Dave had to chase him around the catio yard. According to him… this garden is too “cluttered”, and the plants were trying to trip him up as he tried to get Relic in the house. I have to admit, you do have to watch your step, but I can’t help but smile when I’m out there, cluttered or not. (Though changes are in store for next year).

Hopefully as you’re reading this, I’m outside planting spring bulbs. There wasn’t a lot of spring colour this year, but now that the main beds are in, next spring is going to be very different.

The roses had a hard summer this year. The heat and the drought are not ideal, and several of the plants weren’t in the best condition when I bought them.

Chrysler Imperial (Red) performed the best, but it had to battle Sawfly larvae all season (you can see the bites they’ve taken out of the petals). I didn’t get a tonne of blooms from the roses out back, but Good as Gold (Yellow) fared the best. Both Chrysler and Red are enjoying some last blooms in the cooler days. I hope the others have put down good roots, and will have a better year next year.

One of my biggest delights was the Honeysuckle. I thought Honeysuckle bloomed once a year and that was it. But this one has bloomed on an off all summer, and it’s STILL blooming! I expect this will be the last for it, but what a treat it’s been. It’s grown right to the top of the catio in just one season, and I hope next year it fills in more, and provides some shade for the kitties as they play.

Another wonder has been this Thunbergia. I bought it on a whim at the hardware store back in June. I hung it on the side porch and it’s brought a smile to my face every time I go out. I love it’s cheery yellow flowers, and the way it’s just grown and grown and grown. Sadly, it’s an annual here, so I’ll have to see if I can get another one next year.

Above are a few late-bloomers. Blue Delphinium, Globe Thistle, and New England Aster. The first two were among the plants I bought in mid-summer, and the Aster is another of my new native plant collection. All should be even more spectacular next year.

Unless we get a good, hard frost, all the current bloomers should hang on for a few more weeks at least. But there’s no denying the end of garden season is coming.

The Toad Lilies have started to bloom and that’s always a sign the season is coming to and end. But we’ll enjoy every minute for however long it lasts.

Friday Felines

Well… yesterday WAS supposed to be the last finished quilt for the week, but….

I had a few extra chandelier blocks leftover. It didn’t take much effort to make a couple more and cut up some more setting triangles for a Burton-sized version.

In fact, it was together, quilted and binding attached in no time. Since it was so small, I just did some straight line, stitch (mostly) in the ditch quilting. I don’t quilt on my own machine often, and it was good practice. It was also a good reminder of why I love that Mom bought the longarm!!!

Burton and I spent an evening hand-sewing the binding down.

You will note that he is on top of my Chandelier quilt, and under his during this process. Since the quilt was small, it was ready for a little photoshoot by morning.

It’s about 24″ x 36″ and it’s just the perfect size for their little chaise. And doesn’t it just look so cute draped over the end???

Burton is certainly pleased with it, but now he says he needs a Christmas one too!!!!

FO: Crystal kittens

The final quilt in this week’s quilt parade is the one that MINE ALL MINE!!!

As noted before, the fabric line is Kitty Corn, and the pattern is Chandelier. When I first saw the fabric last year, I instantly fell in love with it.

There was just something about those vintage kitties. And the colours… I loved how they were Hallowe’enish, but in a very, non-traditional way. I instantly knew I wanted to make the Chandelier quilt with it.

My version is a little longer, but not as wide as the original pattern, but it’s a great quilt for throwing over my legs while sitting with my feet up in my recliner.

The fat quarte bundle came with a panel piece that included some quilt labels, so I took advantage and added one to the back. And that backing fabric… not part of the Kitty Corn line… but the colours are almost an exact match. And of course, it’s not just a plaid, but a diagonal plaid which thrills me to no end!

The fat quarter bundle was quite large, and with the panel it included, I have enough for another quilt. So there will another Kitty corn quilt in my future… but probably not until NEXT Hallowe’en!

FO: November Romance

Next up in this week’s finished quilt parade is the biggest. The behemoth of a wedding quilt…

The pattern is the Layer cake version of Moda Love, and as written, it comes out to 72 inches square. I added a few more borders to get it up to a respectable 92″ square.

With the exception of the black fabric and the backing, it’s all made with batiks in nature prints – trees, flowers, butterflies, snowflakes, etc.

When I first imagined this quilt, I had planned on something very traditional with blues and creams. When I couldn’t find what I envisioned in my head, I moved onto the idea of using batiks. And when I finally got them in my hand, I knew they had to be done with a black background.

It’s definitely not the traditional quilt I envisioned, but I think it suits the bride’s personality more. The wedding is in November, and unfortunately, I’m not going to be able to make it. But I’m going to get this into the mail, along with my best wishes ASAP.

Hopefully it’s a good consolation prize to my presence on their special day.

FO: Fright Night

First up in this week’s finished quilt parade is the smallest, but probably the cutest…

I am over-the-moon thrilled with how this one turned out.

I love how the cat looks against the ombre purple sky.

I love all the fun Halloween prints and pops of pink in the brick wall.

And I am thrilled with the backing and the binding. I love it when all of the parts come together to make the whole!

And this one is now available in the shop!

Pupdate

I made it to Mom’s for the weekend, and got all my quilting done (more to come this week). But there was an extra special highlight of the weekend too.

One of the pups Jem had last summer was adopted by a friend of my Dad. He came by for a visit on Saturday and brought the pup (Rebel) with him.

Now, just over a year old, Rebel is almost full grown (he’s tall and lanky, but still has some filling out to do).

Of course, Jem was thrilled to have a visitor, and the pair of them were just full of beans. As you can see, it’s hard to tell them apart. Rebel (the one with the chain collar) is taller, and skinnier, but when they are playing they are both just big, black blurs.

He visited for a couple hours, and I wanted to get at least one picture of the pair of them side by side. Unfortunatley that was not going to happen. So you have to settle for this pair of pictures.

It was quite the visit and Ms. Jem was pretty tuckered out for the rest of the day.

Fright night

I can finally show the second Hallowe’en quilt. If you’ve been on the Bearbottom facebook page, you’ll seen glimpses this week, but not the whole thing.

But first, it starts with a little story. Ages ago, I came across the pattern for this quilt.

Naturally I fell in love with it. But I saw my version of it with a twist…. All Hallowe’en fabrics…..

And a scaredy cat!

I uses two different fabric collections for the bricks (Creep it Real from Camelot Fabrics & Midnight Magic from Moda Fabrics). And for the sky, I used Moda’s Ombre Fairy Dust.

My fraidy cat was sketched free-hand and fused with fusible web. He still needs to be stitched down. Hopefully while you’re reading this, I’m quilting it (just wait until you see the fabric I got for the back!!!)

And since the Kitty Corn quilt is for me… this one will be going in the shop next week!!!

Burton doesn’t think it will stay there long! I hope he’s right!

Garden gifts

The garden continues it’s steady march into fall, though there’s still lots in bloom.

The mums are at their absolute peak

They are expected this time of year, but here are a couple things that are not.

The first is an oriental poppy. The second is a clematis.

None of the gorgeous poppies from the townhouse made the move, but I managed to get a couple new ones this spring, though it was past their bloom time. The plants have done well over summer, but I didn’t expect to see any blooms this year, that’s for sure. Yet one popped up out front. I’m glad I got a picture of it, because the next morning, a big storm blew through and battered the poor thing to the ground.

As for clematis.. it’s something I was never able to grow at the townhouse. No matter where I put it, it died. I got three plants on clearance this year and figured if they didn’t make it, I’d finally give up on clematis.

All three have grown since summer, and seem to like their spot on the side of the catio fence. I knew one of them was a “later-blooming” clematis, but I never expected it would bloom now! But there it is. I actually have three of those pretty dark blooms, with a fourth on the way.

There’s still lots of other things blooming too, as you can see. But the real gift in the garden is this…

Remember our Praying Mantis friend? Well she spent all summer in the butterfly bush and we watched her get bigger and bigger. The other day, I just happened to be outside at the right time to capture her laying a pile of eggs on a branch.

There could be up to 400 baby mantises in there. They will chill in there all winter, and come spring, hatch and spread out into the garden. Naturally, not all of them will live, or even stay in the garden. But hopefully enough of them will as they are a great little bit of natural pest control!!!

FO: Bearly bonnet

I finished up the last hat – the one that will go with the Fox and Friends quilt. I did consider making a fox hat, but I didn’t have the right shade of orange in the stash. So.. I decided to go with a bear instead (there are bears in the quilt, so it works)

The pattern is Bearly Bonnet. This is the third one I’ve knit, and it’s a pattern I love. So easy with an adorable result.

I didn’t have anything proper to model it on, so my fountain lady had to stand in. I used up the last of my Regia 6-ply tweed on this hat. (I got a sweater, hat, pair of fingerless gloves, and now this bonnet out of it, so that was a good run!)

Sadly…. as cute as the bonnet is, I think it’s going to be too small. It’s not a fault of the pattern (which as I said, is great!). I wasn’t thinking and made the smallest size. But the babe its going to is already born – and a few months old, already.

I’m going to dive back into the stash and see what I can come up with. I should be able to whip a slightly bigger one off before the weekend.

This one can get tucked away until there’s a smaller head to give it to.