Saturday, October 31, 2009



I find the origin and history of Halloween fascinating.


Halloween is the one of the oldest holidays still celebrated today. It's one of the most popular holidays, second only to Christmas…or so they say.  While millions of people celebrate Halloween without knowing its origins and myths, the history and facts of Halloween make the holiday even  more intriguing.

Halloween Little Boy

Some people view Halloween as a time for fun, putting on costumes, trick-or-treating, and having theme parties. Others view it as a time of superstitions, ghosts, goblins and evil spirits that should be avoided at all costs.

As the Christian debate goes on, celebrating Halloween is a preference that is not always viewed as participating in an evil holiday. Halloween is often celebrated with no reference to pagan rituals or the occult.


Halloween is on October 31st, the last day of the Celtic calendar. It was originally a pagan holiday, honoring the dead. Halloween was referred to as All Hallows Eve and dates back to over 2000 years ago.

All Hallows Eve is the evening before All Saints Day, which was created by Christians to convert pagans, and is celebrated on November 1st. The Catholic church honored saints on this designated day.


While there are many versions of the origins and old customs of Halloween, some remain consistent by all accounts. Different cultures view Holloween somewhat differently but traditional Halloween practices remain the same.

Halloween culture can be traced back to the Druids, a Celtic culture in Ireland, Britain and Northern Europe. Roots lay in the feast of Samhain, which was held annually on October 31st to honor the dead.

Samhain signifies "summers end" or November. Samhain was a harvest festival with huge sacred bonfires, marking the end of the Celtic year and the beginning of a new one. Many of the practices involved in this celebration were fed on superstition.

The Celts believed the souls of the dead roamed the streets and villages at night. Since not all spirits were thought to be friendly, gifts and treats were left out to pacify the evil and ensure next years crops would be plentiful. This custom evolved into trick-or-treating.  Interesting, huh?

Pumpkin Head

Will you be welcoming the trick-or-treaters tonight?

Happy stitching…and haunting!

Kaaren ♥

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Baa Baa Black Sheep…

Have you any wool?

I guess my affection for sheep dates back to my childhood and maybe that’s also why I’m enamored with wool to this day.

I working with wool.  I the way it feels and I the scent that emanates from the storage bin when I remove the lid.  I also find it a very forgiving medium with which to work because it is so easy to manipulate and is very forgiving.


When I was chatting with my friend Julie this morning, she asked me the question, “What are you mad about?”  Julie wasn’t asking me what I was ‘angry’ about, but used the OZ expression ‘mad about’ referring to what was I passionate about.  Christmas is coming and and we are trying to find out about appropriate gifts to make for one another.

As we were chatting, I got to thinking  about my many passions and it dawned on me that one of them was sheep.  I guess I inadvertently started to collect sheep many years ago and after we had finished our on line ‘conversation’, I decided to walk around the house with my camera and take inventory.


Our spare bedroom is my designated pasture which houses the bulk of my herd.


This is the shelf above the bed.  There are vintage German sheep, chalkware sheep, redware sheep, plush sheep,  papier maché sheep, a pastoral scene that I painted and my favorite…an antique Steiff lamb with blue glass eyes…the one in the center on the top shelf.



Sheep are grazing on and around each bedside table...


and on top of the quilt rack as well.



More sheep sightings in the hallway…


and by the front entrance.











They’re even in the living room!


And in the den on this redware plate…


and in the laundry room.


And how could I not have one or two in my studio to keep me company while I sew?

*  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *  ~  *

Baaaaaa…I mean…

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥


Saturday, October 24, 2009

A Productive Saturday

No news from the realtor which in my mind means that we won’t be moving any time soon.  Unlike last Saturday, today it was very windy and it rained all day.  Great weather to stay indoors and do something creative.


I’ve been wanting to rearrange my studio for some time now and today seemed like the perfect day.  All our outdoor garden work is finished so we decided to tackle both Mr. Painted Quilt’s office and my studio.  We started moving things around which allowed me to vacuum and dust in hard-to-get-at-places, emptied out some cupboards, traded book shelves and made piles for trash, donations and recycling.

Three hours later, we were done!   Come with me and I’ll take you on a tour.


This is the farthest right corner of my studio. 


As we proceed counter clockwise around the room, you can see my sewing station next.










Both the cupboard in the corner and the Hoosier to the left of it are filled with fabric and supplies.


Next and to the left of the Hoosier is my Featherweight station with more fabric and wool stored in the bins below.  The white magnifying lamp on the right side of the table is a life saver  for those small stitchery projects.  I used to use this for the tiny detailed work in my paintings.


This is my computer station where right now I am composing this post on my new laptop.  Can you see me waving at you all? 


Next is my antique treadle machine along with some of my favorite sewing memorabilia displayed on and around it.










And here we’ve come to where we started.  This pine cupboard used to house our television but now it’s storing more of my fabric and wool.  The shaker table that used to be in my studio is now displaying Mr. Painted Quilt’s favorite toy…his television…and of course, remote control.


And there you have my newly rearranged sewing studio.  The color in the photos is a little yellow because they were taken at night and without any natural light.  It is actually very bright during the day.

I don’t know about you but I always feel so inspired after a good tidying up and reorganization.  I did manage to get some stitching in this afternoon as well.  I’m working on December’s FFF (First Friday Freebie) which I hope to finish tomorrow.  November’s is already done and is ready to be released on November 6th, the First Friday of the month.  I think you’re going to like it.

Now I’m going to make myself a cup of tea and enjoy the rest of the evening.  Thanks for accompanying me on my tour.

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥


Thursday, October 22, 2009

Waking Up From A Dream

The unfortunate thing about waking up from a dream is that you then have to face reality and many times, it would have been better if the dream had just remained that…a dream.

Thank you all so much for your kind words and support after reading about our serendipitous stumbling upon my dream home.


Although my dream is still alive, at this time it is only hanging on my mere threads.  We had asked our realtor to provide us with the answers to some of our major concerns such as yearly costs for heating, electric, taxes, rural high speed internet, trash collection and any other incidentals that would affect our monthly carrying charges.


We were certainly given a dose of reality to awaken us from our dream when Jenn, our realtor, came back with the answers yesterday.  The brutal truth is that the basic everyday costs to run my dream home would cost us approximately $500-$600 more per month than our current costs, with the majority being the increase in  the cost of heating.  There is a substantial  cost difference between heating with natural gas which we currently have and oil.   What a slap in the face that news was!


The truth of the matter is, unless we can do some serious negotiations with the list price of the house, it looks like our dream might just fade into the proverbial sunset.  We still have time to think about it and to crunch more numbers, but in our heart of hearts, we know that the bottom line won’t change, given the volatile price of oil  and both Mr. Painted Quilt and I are not risk-takers when it comes to this sort of thing.

So I’m prepared to allow my dream remain a dream…until my next serendipitous encounter with a stone house with a ‘for sale’ sign on the lawn.   *wink*

Have a super day and as always…

Happy stitching!  

Kaaren ♥

Monday, October 19, 2009

Is It Just a Dream?

We found it…and purely by accident.

Saturday, was a beautiful autumn day.  The skies were blue, the sun was shining and there was a little nip in the air.  Mr. Painted Quilt and I decided to partake in one of our favorite pastimes…travelling the back roads with no particular destination in mind.

With Mr. PQ behind the wheel, we headed out with nothing  in mind other than to just enjoy the day, each other’s company and the scenery.  About two hours and 100 miles later, we found ourselves in an area of Ontario that is renowned for it’s 150-200 year old stone houses. 

I cannot resist looking at and admiring every stone house that I see.  You can well imagine the heaven I was in being in this part of the country where there are quite a few of them.  Bliss!


After a while,  our stomachs started to remind us that we hadn’t had any lunch and it was nearing two o’clock.  We decided to head into the nearest town to find a place to eat.

As we made our way down the road, there was a sign indicating that there was a curve ahead which caused Mr. PQ to slow down.  As we came out of the curve, we saw it.


My dream home…with a for sale sign!

Stone House 2

It must be a dream!  I pleaded with Sam to turn around so that we could drive by it again.  He did and we pulled over to the side of the road and tried to take in as much as we could without leaving the vehicle.  I wrote down the details from the sign and called the listing agent.  Note: The above photo I copied from the listing.  Did you notice the difference in the sky from the one I took?


To make a long story short, we went to see the house yesterday.  It is indeed my dream home.  It sits on five acres in a rural area but is only a short 15 minute drive to town. Located on the St. Lawrence River, Brockville is noted for it’s history and architecture.  Most of the buildings in the downtown core are made from stone as well. 

After spending quite a bit of time going through the house, we came up with a list of questions about the property which our realtor is researching for us and the answers will determine  at to whether this home could become ours.  I am trying so hard to not allow my emotions to take over because I don’t want to be disappointed if things don’t work out.  Hopefully by Wednesday we’ll have an idea as to whether we’ll proceed with an offer to purchase.


To change the subject and to try to get my mind to think of other things, I did manage to complete the October block of Bunny Hill’s Tisket-A-Tasket BOM.

DSCN1068I chose to do mine in wool and exercised a bit of artistic licence and changed a few things from the original design.  Only two more to go!

♥  ♥  ♥  ♥  ♥

So now I’m off to try to keep my hands and mind occupied.  Wish me luck and as always…

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Catching Up and a Bit of Shopping

It was a busy and productive weekend here at the Painted Quilt.  Monday was Canadian Thanksgiving, so that translated into an extra day off to devote time to some  outdoor chores in preparation for winter.

Mr. Painted Quilt and I spent about two and a half hours in our gardens cutting back the rest of the perennials, putting away lawn furniture and birdbaths, raking leaves and fertilizing the lawn.  The bird feeders are out and the chickadees, blue jays and cardinals are happy once again.  Thank goodness that job is done because winter…we’re ready!


We went to NY state on Saturday to do a bit of shopping and of course a day of shopping wouldn’t be complete without a visit to a LQS.  I managed to pick up 6 yards of some Fig Tree Quilts fabric that was reduced to $4 a yard which is destined to be used as backing for a yet to be determined quilt.  At that price, I just couldn’t resist.


I also found some cheddar and green Civil War fabrics that I needed for my stash.  Somehow, I was lacking in greens but I solved that problem quite nicely.  I also purchased some wide black rick rack and and a subtle fall-themed fabric.


One of my Christmas gifts this year is the Tisket-A-Tasket BOM quilt from Bunny Hill Designs that I am making for my friend Lucie.  I completed the August and September blocks just recently and decided to assemble the nine blocks that were finished in order to save time in December when the last block will be released.  I am doing this quilt in wool on cotton and although there are still embellishments to be added, here’s what it looks like so far.  Of course I had to change the Scottie dog in the September block  to look like Mac, our Westie.


 I hope to be finished the October block sometime today.  Then, two more blocks to go!  I’m going to have to move quickly to get the last block done after it is released on the 5th of December because I would like to hand quilt it and have it wrapped and under Lucie’s tree by the 24th.  Yikes!  But I work well under pressure.  *wink*

Have a super day and as always…

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥


Thursday, October 8, 2009

RAK’s and Stuff…

This post is a bit overdue in some instances but I do have an excuse, albeit a lame one, in that I’ve been working hard on finishing up my swap commitments and FFF (First Friday Freebies) projects.

I know I have said this before and forgive me if I sound like a broken record (now that’s dating me isn’t it?) but I’ve been so blessed since I started blogging with the many friends I’ve made from around this great world we live in…which, BTW, has gotten a lot smaller as a result.

One of the first gals who visited my blog was Carrie P.  Carrie made me feel so welcome back then and continues to even now with her friendship and very giving and sharing nature.   I think the blogging world knows of my ongoing ♥ affair with wool and pincushions, and look what arrived in my post box a while back…


An amazing woolen hat pincushion that Carrie made for me!


Then not too long ago, I blogged about how I ♥ x-stitch samplers and that the only way that I was ever going to own one was to make one myself.  I read what I could find on line about teaching oneself to x-stitch, and I did manage to make two small and not too detailed samplers which I ♥ to death. 

Well I guess Vikki read about my love of samplers, and to my utter surprise, these arrived!


Two fat quarters with a different sampler design on each and some coordinating DMC floss!  I know exactly what I’m going to make with them…but you’ll have to wait a bit.


 Not too long ago, I blogged about a LQS having a 40% off sale and I was able to pick up some awesome Lydia Quigley fabric.  Now how surprised do you think I was when Lorraine,  who distributes Lydia’s patterns under the Rabbit Factory banner, sent me this…


One of Lydia’s patterns that I don’t already have in my collection!


A while back,  Stephanie asked me if I would like to become one of her ‘Supreme Sewers’.  Without hesitation, I most humbly acquiesced.  She sent me her written instructions and my job was to make a bag from those instructions.

My project was Stephanie’s Prickly Pear design.   Here’s the bag I made, following her instructions to a tee.


A few days ago, a package arrived from Stephanie with these inside…


Two of her published Prickly Pear pattern packets,  two Flea Market Fancy fat quarters and some vintage rick rack!


 A short while ago, Jenny and I agreed to a private swap.  Coincidently, as I was making Stephanie’s Prickly Pear  bag, I knew that it was destined to be one of my swap gifts for Jenny.  So as my bag was winging it’s way to Australia, this was on it’s way to me…


One of Jenny’s bags made especially for me! 

Look at the stitching!


I can’t wait til next summer to use my new bag!


And now I’d like to tell you about Bonnie.  A while ago, Bonnie asked me for my snail mail address saying that she had a little something that she’d like to send to me.  Cool!  We all love surprises, don’t we?

In the interim, Bonnie decided to have a surprise giveaway on her blog for her regular visitors.  Completely unannounced, Bonnie did the computerized random selection thing on one of her posts, and I was the winner of her surprise giveaway. 

So just yesterday, these wonderful goodies arrived in my post box.


An incredible Halloween tote made by Bonnie herself, a bundle of fall fat quarters, a fall quilt pattern and a memo pad, along with a beautiful card. 


In the card, Bonnie explained that she came across these painting books which she never got around to using and thought that I might like them.  What Bonnie didn’t know is that one of the authors is a personal friend of mine who I met while travel teaching and doing the decorative painting convention circuit.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

As I mentioned above, I feel that am truly blessed to have had the pleasure of ‘meeting’ you all .  Even though I have written to each of you individually, I would like to take this opportunity to publicly  thank you all again in order that I might share your gifts and talents with everyone who reads this.

Thank you again my FRIENDS

And as always…

Happy stitching!

Kaaren ♥